Clubs happy with open slather
June 21, 2006
NRL club chief executives last night welcomed the scrapping of rugby league's June 30 anti-tampering deadline ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ however Parramatta CEO Denis Fitzgerald was a vehement dissenter.
It will be open slather from July 1 with all NRL players able to negotiate with any club at any time with no restrictions.
The move, and any possible alternatives, will be discussed at next month's CEOs' meeting in Sydney.
"The rule can only ever be enforced if clubs take the time to make official complaints rather than media accusations," said NRL chief executive David Gallop.
"Rather than see the same accusations made each year I think we would be better off removing the date for future seasons."
Gallop's stance was backed by the club CEOs.
"There has been increasing frustration with it for a number of years," said Dragons chief executive Peter Doust.
Broncos boss Bruno Cullen added: "We've never been in favour of June 30 so we're happy it's going.
"If you are not able to police it correctly, why have it?
"We might as well just have open slather."
Roosters CEO Brian Canavan said: "We're comfortable with the decision."
Storm chief Brian Waldron agreed, claiming: "If the integrity of the salary cap is upheld and we're on the same playing field, then we shouldn't fear anti-tampering.
"I didn't think it was working in its current form."
However Fitzgerald was angry that the decision was made without consulting club CEOs.
"I'm flabbergasted the NRL has floated this before any CEOs meetings," he said.
"I've been around 28 years and this is the best system. None of the critics have come up with any better solution.
"The systems confines negotiations to a certain time.
"I'm amazed the NRL management has floated this now rather than at the end of the year when we have forums to discuss any rule changes. I'm most disappointed."
Penrith chief executive Mick Leary also had concerns saying: "I am worried about players signing contracts two years in advance. For someone to sign in January or February and start the season committed to a rival club ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ I just don't like it."
New Zealand Warriors boss Wayne Scurrah supported scrapping June 30 but added: "I don't think you could have complete open slather. I'm still picking myself up off the floor."
Gallop may seek to implement a rule where players about to leave must return to their existing clubs who can make a final offer.
"We still need to consider an opportunity for clubs to have the last right to retain their players," the NRL boss said yesterday.
"Players can talk to other clubs whenever they want but would have to come back to give their existing club a final opportunity to retain them."
RLPA chief executive Matthew Rodwell was ecstatic at the move.
The NRL feel the rule change will not give the ARU and England's Super League a free hit at signing players while Australian clubs sit on their hands.