NRL takes action after 'ridiculous' farce angers fans: 'This is wrong'

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Peter V'landys, pictured here watching on during an NRL game.
Peter V'landys (L) is reportedly set to revert the NRL transfer deadline back to June 30. Image: Getty

Phil Rothfield has revealed that ARL commission chairman Peter V’landys is set to scrap the NRL's August 1 transfer deadline and revert to the traditional June 30 cut-off in 2023.

The August 1 deadline has raised eyebrows in recent days after Wests Tigers players David Nofoaluma and Oliver Gildart were snapped up by the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters respectively.

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Because the Tigers can't make the finals, they happily sent Nofoaluma and Gildart to their higher-ranked rivals for the remainder of the 2022 season.

But questions have been raised about the ethics of the current system, which affectively allows top teams to pinch players from lower-ranked rivals in a huge boost before the finals.

The Parramatta Eels have also been chasing the services of Martin Taupau from Manly and David Klemmer from the Knights in recent days, while Matt Lodge has joined the Roosters from the Warriors.

However Rothfield revealed on Monday night that V'landys plans to revert to the old system in 2023, which only allowed player transfers before June 30.

The system was changed in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when teams were based in Queensland without the ability to call on reserve grade players.

“I spoke to Peter V’landys just before we came on air… Peter has had enough of this late movement up until August 1,” Rothfield said on NRL 360.

“What he is going to do next year, take it to the commission, take it back to June 30.

“Very wise move, stops Nofoaluma going to Melbourne late, Lodge to the Roosters late, Gildart too.

“It was introduced last year only because of Covid, because a lot of teams were stuck in Queensland and in desperation had to get players late.”

David Nofoaluma and Oliver Gildart, pictured here in action for Wests Tigers.
David Nofoaluma and Oliver Gildart have been sent to the Storm and Roosters respectively. Image: Getty

Co-host Paul Kent said the change would be a “win for common sense”.

“It needed to happen, I am disappointed it was allowed to happen this year, I think it was an oversight that they have allowed it to happen,” Kent said.

“The fact is, this is wrong for so many reasons this August 1 deadline, it is allowing teams to troubleshoot their rosters.

“The part of the game’s appeal is your 30-man roster gets you through the season, and it is the attrition and the endurance to last the season and to get to the finals in a good state of fitness.

“If you can’t do that for whatever reason… so be it, but that is a part of the magic of this competition.”

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo and ARL chairman Peter V'landys, pictured here at the SCG.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo and ARL chairman Peter V'landys. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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Fellow journalist James Hooper added: “For a game that has been founded on tribalism, it just cheapens that whole concept because for the weaker clubs, what does it say for their fans.

“They don’t get anything out of the fact that the strong clubs sit back and know the deadline is looming, know they have got time.

“Look at the Storm, how many players did they go after from Reece Walsh to Adam Doueihi… the list went on. That can’t be sitting well with the clubs down the bottom of the ladder.”

Kent said the current system is particularly detrimental to the teams in the middle of the table vying for places in the finals.

“For those middle teams… they get no benefit out of it, and I actually believe they are harmed by it because they can’t troubleshoot,” he said.

“The middle teams are not attracting players and they aren’t loaning players because it is just too tight, they need all hands on deck.

“They were being impacted, it was basically strengthening the top four teams who have the ability to go and pick the eyes out, as has happened, of the bottom four teams and just target their better players.”

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