NRL clubs push for player transfer window
A powerful faction of NRL clubs will on Wednesday begin a push to introduce a player transfer window.
The coaching carousel and proposed anti-tampering rules will be top of the agenda when the game's governing body meets with all 16 club chief executives at NRL HQ.
However, there's a belief within a group of clubs that coaches signing with rivals years in advance is the symptom of a deeper problem.
One CEO said the root cause of the coaching merry-go-round was the fact players could sign with clubs a year out from their contract ending.
According to the club boss, who asked not to be named, instituting anti-tampering rules around coaches would only be a band-aid solution.
The only way to address it, he added, was to have an AFL-style transfer window.
They argue when a player begins negotiations one of their first questions asked is who will be coaching the team, leading clubs to shuffle mentors years in advance.
"Regulating the movement of coaching will only partially solve one issue," the CEO said.
"But the root cause of this is a lack of system or structure around the November 1 deadline.
"Until we institute a trade or transfer window, we're going to see more and more of this speculation around players and coaches."
Under NRL rules, players cannot sign with a rival over a year out from the end of their deal and there is a push for coaches to be bound by the same rules.
The issue came to a head when Ivan Cleary signed with Penrith, Anthony Seibold with Brisbane and Wayne Bennett with South Sydney over a year out from the end of their contracts.
A transfer window was discussed during a phone hook up of club bosses last month.
And it's understood that it has widespread support in clubland and they will on Wednesday ask the NRL to change the rules as early as next year.
While the proposal hasn't been set in stone, it's anticipated it will run for three to four weeks following the end-of-season Tests.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg earlier in the year said he did not oppose a transfer window, however, was wary clubs would wheel and deal "underground" regardless.
The Rugby League Players' Association said they did not necessarily oppose a transfer window, however, there was a lot to be weighed up including players' job security and rules already in place under the collective bargaining agreement.
"Any changes to the player movement system would need to be evidence-based and consider the intended and unintended consequences, while ensuring the rights of players, key stakeholders and the competition are protected," RLPA CEO Ian Prendergast said.