Ben Thomas, 23, will play for Sydney Roosters versus Rabbitohs on Friday nightHard working front-rower works full-time as a tradie, NRL contract is just $5,000In stark contrast to his Tricolours teammate James Tedesco, on $1.1 million a year
Ben Thomas works full-time as a builder’s labourer while juggling his meagre NRL contract with the Sydney Roosters.
On Friday night he will come off the bench for the Tricolours in their grudge match against arch rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
While superstar teammate James Tedesco earns a reported $1.1million per season, Thomas is on a modest $5,000 yearly contract – the cheapest deal in the game.
Thomas’ story would have been common back in the day before the code turned full-time professional in the late 1990s, when the Super League war started.
Ben Thomas’ modest NRL contract of $5000 is a throwback to the days when rugby league wasn’t a fulltime professional job
A number of injuries have seen the 23-year-old, who works fulltime as a tradie, called up to play NRL with the Sydney Roosters this year (pictured with teammate Sam Walker)
Previously it wasn’t unusual to see footy stars juggling training with some form of employment.
Those days are over in the modern era but with the Roosters hammered by injuries this year, Thomas is poised to make his fourth NRL appearance this season – leaving coach Trent Robinson beaming with pride.
‘He’s a good man, everyone loves him,’ he said. ‘He’s actually a really skilful player but he was always a little bit small.
‘He’s a player’s player. Always does his job and works really hard. He’s a real old school front-rower who you can always rely on.’
With Boyd Cordner retired, Victor Radley and Angus Crichton suspended as well as Jared Waerea-Hargreaves injured, Thomas will have to fill the significant void in the middle.
Thomas was expected to largely feature for the North Sydney Bears in the NSW Cup across 2021 – but now can test himself against the likes of Rabbitohs pin-up boys Thomas Burgess and Cameron Murray at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
He is so anonymous, Thomas doesn’t even have a picture next to his name on the NRL.com website.
After making his debut in round 14 versus the Gold Coast Titans back in June, Thomas’ bank balance is on the rise.
Ben Thomas (pictured in jersey) made his NRL debut in June for the Roosters on the Gold Coast
On Friday night, the Roosters rookie will square off against South Sydney Rabbitohs front-rower Tom Burgess (pictured)
Besides his base contract of $5,000, he now earns $1,000 a week from a training contract and an additional match payment of $3,000 for every NRL game.