Sport Players reject call for NRL transfer window

12:27  01 december  2021
12:27  01 december  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) has baulked at the idea of introducing a transfer period in the NRL.

The notion was floated on Tuesday when league boss Andrew Abdo fronted media, and he hinted a system will be considered.

The issue has been raised once again as rugby league fans seem fed up with the number of players signing with rival clubs almost 12 months in advance.

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Already since the 2022 contract period opened on November 1, the NRL has seen Felise Kaufusi, Isaiah Papali'i, Viliame Kikau, and Marata Niukore sign contracts with teams that they won't play with until 2023. All of those players will spend next season representing their current club, while knowing they won't be there much longer.

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Eels hooker Reed Mahoney was also spotted meeting with Bulldogs officials, while Melbourne hooker Brandon Smith has met with the Titans, Dolphins, and Roosters, and bragged about being approached by several other clubs, too.

Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith met with NRL expansion team the Dolphins. Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith met with NRL expansion team the Dolphins.

Smith caused an uproar this week when he revealed on a podcast he wants to play for the Roosters in 2023, despite the fact he hasn't spoken to the Storm about his plans beyond his current contract.

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Some NRL fans want the game to introduce a similar model to the AFL's trade window, which is open for a fortnight post-season and gives players and clubs a window to get all deals done.

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"The reality is there is no cookie-cutter approach to trade and transfer windows," RLPA chief Clint Newton told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Trade windows have not been proven to quell fan discontent. There are many examples globally where it doesn't actually reduce it. There's no evidence to suggest that it will resolve some of the current public frustration.

Clint Newton wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: RLPA boss Clint Newton. © Getty RLPA boss Clint Newton.

"I don't have any doubt that Brandon or any other player will be doing the best they can for their team.

"We don't believe implementing a specific window will reduce the speculation that goes on in relation to player movement. You're talking about reducing the options a player has for improving fan sentiment, but there's no evidence that the trade windows in the EPL, NBA, AFL have significantly reduced fan discontent."

As it stands, NRL rules allow players and their managers to negotiate with rival clubs once there's less than 12 months to run on their current deal.

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