NRL trade window call after Kikau fiasco

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Former Kangaroos forward Billy Moore has described the NRL's transfer system as a "disgrace" as he leads calls for an overhaul to the way players sign contracts.

Under the NRL's rules, players can speak to rival clubs when they have 12 months left to run on their existing contract from November 1.

The issue has been brought into focus over recent days when a photo of Penrith back-rower Viliame Kikau wearing a Canterbury polo shirt was circulated on social media.

Kikau is contracted to the Panthers for 2022 and, under the current NRL system, won't play for the Bulldogs for nearly 18 months.

"Anyone who looks into the fish bowl that is rugby league sees that contracts have become meaningless," Moore told AAP.

"I've been vocal about this for a long time and the system is a disgrace.

"The biggest losers are the fans and sponsors and the only person who benefits from it is the player's manager.

"There is no other sport in the world where people sign a contract the best part of a year in advance and then play out their current contract.

"It's a fallacy to say when the (contract's final) season ends you can't go find a new club and move your family if you need to."

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys conceded the system was not right on and said on Monday that the game would explore changes.

But any amendments are likely to be met by stiff opposition from the Rugby League Players' Association, who argue the situation is against the interests of their members.

The Bulldogs have identified the person at the source of the leak of the Kikau image, with the matter a Canterbury League Club issue and the person not an employee of the NRL club.

The photo was meant to be used when Kikau's came under contract at Canterbury, and not when his signing is announced at some point this week.

Kikau is not the only player to have agreed to terms at a new club but the Fiji international was met by some light boos at Penrith's grand final parade a day after the photo was leaked.

To prevent such problems, Moore proposed a designated end-of-season transfer period when only off-contract players could move.

"I'm a big fan of trading windows because it concentrates the energy around the movement of players, rather than it happening all year long," he said.

"On the Monday after the grand final the circus can start and clubs can begin trading and making deals for next season.

"You look at the AFL and the English Premier League and the amount of publicity they generate is extraordinary.

"Nobody's actually playing yet it gets all the column inches.

"Then I'd have one midway through the season, which allows for adjustments inside your roster to compensate for injuries."

PLAYERS WHO HAVE SIGNED WITH NEW NRL CLUBS FOR 2023

Viliame Kikau (Penrith to Canterbury)

Luke Metcalf (Cronulla to the Warriors)

Marata Niukore (Parramatta to the Warriors)

Isaiah Papali'i (Parramatta to Wests Tigers)

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