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Trading places: NRL transfer windows could be in place as soon as 2022

The Panthers are among the clubs advocating for a change to the current free-for-all system which results in constant player movement and speculation.

“I think if it is more defined, it would make those negotiations a bit easier in my opinion,” Cameron said. “You need to have the clearly defined windows in which to operate to stop people doing silly things during the year. It would make it very transparent, that’s what people are looking for.

The Bulldogs have unsuccessfully been attempting to prise Matt Burton from the Panthers before his contract expires.

The Bulldogs have unsuccessfully been attempting to prise Matt Burton from the Panthers before his contract expires.Credit:NRL Photos

“You would have to land on an equitable system before you do anything else. If they came up with an equitable system, I couldn’t see why you wouldn’t want to bring it in as soon as you could.”

The Panthers have been in the spotlight over the summer as several high-profile players come and go. The Bulldogs have signed their back-up playmaker, Matt Burton, from next season but Penrith has knocked back requests to release him early.

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The NRL has already flagged the prospect of considering stopping players from signing with rival clubs for more money if they break their current contracts. Consideration is also being given to the idea of a central contract register, which would prevent agents from fabricating phantom bids to boost their clients’ asking price.

Fans have cited constant player movement and speculation as one of their major bugbears, while the NRL wants to investigate whether they can commercialise trade windows by making them major events in the season calendar.

The NRL’s most experienced club chief executive, Canberra boss Don Furner, said he would view any proposal with an open mind.

“If it’s for commercial purposes and the NRL believe they can make it into an event the way the [AFL or NBA] draft is, then there may be some merit in that,” Furner said. “My only caution with it is that it’s hard if you put in a rule you can’t police.

“It won’t clean up all the background dealing [of clubs and agents] and the leaks to the media, it’s not going to be the silver bullet to stopping all of that. Those things will still go on and make the paper. We’re be happy to look at whatever the proposal is.”

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Wayne Bennett, Ivan Cleary and Nathan Brown are among the club coaches who have previously been the most vocal in their support of trade windows.

“[Contract] values could be more accurate, recruitment processes would be better and more accurate. It feels like it could be better,” Cleary told the Herald last month.

In a change for the current season, the transfer window has been pushed back until August 1 for teams to finalise their 30-man rosters. It could lead to even greater speculation about player movement as clubs tweak their rosters in the run to the finals.

It increases the prospect of Cameron Smith joining a team late in the season if a club retains the salary cap space required to squeeze him in.

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