NRL In The Future

Interesting quote from Bundesliga footballer Lewandowski …

“ Value is not created by the quantity of matches, but by the quality of them”.

– Robert Lewandowski

Peter Vlandys, take note.

Is our NRL creating quality with the current level of compretition on show. Our Panthers are the exception obviously, but geez there’s been some real blowouts. What do you think ?

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Not sure if the NRL has much to do with it… but the problem with league quality now is the junior pathway system.

It’s broken.

Clubs are not incentivised to develop a strong juniors system, you see teams with traditionally strong devolpment systems ditch them and outsource them to other teams., such as the Bulldogs (Mounties), Manly (Workers), Sharks (Jets), and Roosters (Bears).

Many rather just get out the cheque book and sign from clubs like Penrith, Newcastle, Raiders, Wests, Parramatta who invest in junior player development.

But what is the incentive for Penrith? We develop players and many of them will line up in the first grade squad… that’s a good outcome. But we produce much more than we can fit into 3 grades, and if you look at the teams in the NRL right now, you will find them littered with locally developed Panthers talent.

…and what did the Panthers get for all that money developed into that player? Nothing… not a red cent. It’s like a form of altruism.

What we need is a system them rewards clubs for developing juniors and adding to the quality of the player pool. A transfer or development fee paid to the club to reinvest would be nice, as well as concessions for players in a team that are from their local development system.

Introduce this and watch how many of these clubs will start to think about running development programs as it would make financial sense.

… Also a discussion about the dismantling of the NYC needs to be had as well. Dumbest idea ever removing it.


3 posts were split to a new topic: NRL Future thread

Agree wholeheartedly about junior pathways and lack of respect for development clubs.

With regards quantity vs quality it always has to be a balance. No point watching a season of 4 teams playing each other (extreme example). Just look at backlash against the EPL super league idea.

I still propose the best idea is the split the season into two, an early rounds an almost free for all to qualify for the second season big league.

Development clubs should get big time salary cap exemptions, as well as player transfer payments, and what I would propose that a club gets first pick of their juniors, thence a junior can elect to go into an U20’s draft.

This would also help even the league, as last years lowest placed gets pick one etc. Still have to pay a % of contract to the development club as a sign on fee.

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I’ve been saying for years that there should be salary cap exemptions for local juniors. Even a 10% discount on the players salary would add up for clubs like Penrith, allowing them to keep more juniors, or potentially sign a star from outside to fill a gap in the playing roster. This would also incentivise clubs like the Roosters to build partnerships in rural areas to develop their juniors, as a means to taking advantage of the discount.


The argument from another clubs will be that the incentives for local juniors would benefit those in “Rugby League Heartland”, without considering what clubs have done in those regions to make them so.

They will claim that if they want to go in there and individually support teams in the league then they should be allowed to. We have seen this already in Penrith with the Sydney Roosters and Glenmore Park Brumbies in the past. I would imagine if there was an incentive program this will be proposed more by other clubs where the club have not put the money in their own backyards, so to speak.

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“quantity v quality there always needs to be a balance”,
ok then you could argue there are too many teams in Sydney.

So, where are all the juniors going in Brisbane, Townsville, Gold Coast,
Newcastle. You’d think,sure some might end up in Sydney but …
do we develop young up and comers from Papua New Guinea?

We continue to beat our heads against the wall when it comes to Sydney juniors ending up in Melbourne or New Zealand?

Our junior pathway is a mismanaged dead end !!!
Or is it?

So many good points there, Steve. And they’ve been valid issues for years. For too long success has gone to clubs that put more effort into picking the best accountants rather than junior development. You’d probably be able to field a competitive NRL team using all the Penrith juniors playing in other clubs. Also, you’d think that the NRL would recognise the huge threat imposed by both AFL and soccer. I have been amazed recently by how many outback towns in NSW and Qld have AFL posts on playing fields.


There is talent in every junior system no matter how small the area. We have some real quality from the areas that whinge about “Rugby League Heartland” jibber.

Cam Murray, Victor Radley, Angus Crichton to name a few from areas that are juniors poor.

In my opinion it is not about the area, IT IS about how the junior league of the area is run and financed. We are lucky that we have a local comp that really values it’s junior history. I have really only been associated with St Mary’s (113th year re-union this Sat night) but the want and desire of other local teams like Emu, Cambo and now Minchinbury and the like to dominate the junior league is why we are successful. Kids who play for the sainties are taught to value that jumper and they throw endless amounts of cash at their juniors.

All in all, PRIDE and the ability to fund a big junior club is critical for the longevity of Rugby League.

Re the quality v quantity, last nights game was a perfect example of how our current game can go, a fairly good battle early from lower end of the ladder teams, but 1 key individual having a really bad night cost the Broncs BIG TIME. The pressure of gaining the ascendancy has gone from forwards punching on, to a brutal fitness test to see he drops first…The skill of Penrith playing hard fast and as 1 unit is the reason we are successful in the modern game.


The demographics of the different areas plays its part too, at times limiting the amount of available players & funding for junior clubs.

This was a big factor in the death of Norths, Balmain, Newtown, as well as Wests move from Ashfield out to Campbelltown (via Lidcombe) & eventual merger with Balmain. Dwindling junior numbers, combined with a lack of interest from many people living in the area to support the development of the game, saw the slow decline of these clubs.

My own experience of living most of my life in the Shire, and spending most of my working life in the Eastern Suburbs also gives me a bit of perspective of how things are going in these areas.

The Shire’s peak was in the 90’s, after the young families that had moved in during the 70’s, when there was cheap land on offer, had grown up. While there are still young families coming to the area, they aren’t coming through in the numbers they did 40-50 years ago, and being restricted be the beaches in the east, national park in the south, and river north & west, the only development now is in unit complexes. The area is also big on soccer, AFL, basketball & not surprisingly water sports, all eating into the junior numbers.

The Eastern Suburbs has few genuine juniors, but is propped up a lot by the private schools (Scots, Cranbrook, Waverley, Sydney Grammar - Sydney Boys, & Marcellin are also close by, but in Souths area), with all schools bussing in boys from all over Sydney & some boarders from outside Sydney. While these schools lean towards union, there are a lot of boys that play both codes, and many get picked up by the Roosters through this system. Again there is pressure from other sports - union (mainly through schools), soccer, tennis & athletics.

The big advantage we have with Panthers is it is still a place for young families, supplying a constant stream of young players. Dragons (through their partnership with Illawarra), Tigers, Souths, Bulldogs & Eels all have the potential to do what we are doing, but aren’t managing it as well as we are. Sharks & Manly are dependent on waves of juniors coming through together (Manly also have their partnership with Blacktown). Roosters, as I’ve referred to earlier, are on good ground as long as the private schools keep plodding along as they have been.