The NRL is launching an investigation into the Manly Sea Eagles, with the implication being that there may be more than one set of books in use for player salaries: one with the figures reported to the NRL and another with the actual figures.

Manly, as might be expected, has denied any wrongdoing, but the NRL wants to ascertain that the club has indeed maintained player salaries in compliance with the salary cap.

The NSW constabulary is involved, along with the NRL powers, with the allegation being that the Sea Eagles and other NRL clubs as well, are passing payments to players under the table in an effort to circumvent the pay rules.

It would seem as though the game is afoot in the game, as the investigation involves the NSW Organised Crime Squad.

That cannot be good.

The Sydney Morning Herald broke the scandal story, reporting that it is only the Manly club that is under the magnifier, but the understanding is that other clubs may have some tracks to cover.

The Manly club wasted no time in issuing a written denial.

“The club doesn’t answer or respond to unsubstantiated rumours but is fiercely protective of its reputation in the sporting and business world.”

They went further, saying, “There are in fact no allegations that the club has been the subject of in relation to any components of the NRL salary cap or lower tier cap compliance. Quite the contrary we recently had our 2017 midyear salary cap audit completed by the NRL in record time and without adjustment.”

The league countered with its own statement. “The NRL Integrity Unit will investigate allegations raised today relating to the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.”

Innocent until proven guilty say we.

On the other hand, if the Eagles are indeed cooking the books, at least they are using a good enough recipe to earn the third spot on the ladder.