By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV, Port Moresby
NRL clubs have taken a strong stance against the code’s plans to change development pathways.
On Thursday, representatives of clubs and the New South Wales Cup met to discuss concerns over the “whole of game” manifesto by NRL Head of Strategy, Shane Richardson, which aims to scrap the National Youth Competition at the completion of the existing broadcast deal in 2017.
The move could see the overhaul of the existing arrangement for the NRL’s second tier competition with the development pathway to ‘A Grade’, comprised of Harold Matthews, SG Ball and then an open-age 14 team competition.
Under the proposal, the 14 team competition, most likely to be branded as the NSW Cup, will include two teams from country areas, two from New Zealand, seven sides in Sydney, a Fijian outfit and sides out of Newcastle and the Illawarra.
According to Australian media reports, the teams will not be branded along NRL lines; under the proposal, Canterbury, Penrith and Manly NSW Cup sides would need to be rebadged.
Head of New South Wales Rugby League, David Trodden, expressed concerns of the clubs and the NSW Cup officials stating that they were of the view that a bridging state competition was needed. He said that the proposed composition of teams to make up the state cup is most likely to go unsupported by NSW-based clubs.
“The NRL clubs are strongly of the view that NRL clubs and coaches need to be firmly in control of the pathways.”