Rugby League Players Association director Daly Cherry-Evans is unsure whether the introduction of transfer windows will be welcomed by the majority of players, who he stresses need flexibility when it comes to signing new contracts.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo has been upfront in his desire to explore the prospect of the biggest overhaul of player movement in the game’s history, arguing the current free for all is unsettling for fans.
Melbourne’s Josh Addo-Carr, Penrith’s Matt Burton and North Queensland’s Jake Clifford will play the 2021 season knowing they will be at new clubs next year, following on from the likes of Angus Crichton and Tyson Frizell, who have previously signed long-term deals well in advance of leaving their club.
But the players’ union is treading warily when it comes to regulating player movement, arguing its members need the ability to decide their futures when appropriate.
“The conditions we’ve got at the moment, I don’t know how we would change it to make it as good, if not better, for the players,” Cherry-Evans said.
“Whether people at home like it or not, this is our job and we need to make sure we’re [able to do what we need to do when we can]. There’s flexibility from both ends as a player and a club. I think as a game we’d be silly not to look at [a system] provided it’s still a win-win for player.”
The biggest concern for players is the prospect of them being forced to pack up families and move interstate or overseas if the main transfer window was placed after the grand final. It could also prevent long-serving players from having farewells at clubs they are leaving.
“The NBA and NFL, you can be with one team one night then another the next,” Tigers captain James Tamou said. “I hope our game is never like that, otherwise I think [transfer windows] could be very positive.”