Over the last few months, plenty of NRL stars have resolved their futures signing for new clubs despite having 12 months left on their current deals.
Take England international Josh Hodgson for instance. The former Hull KR hooker will be playing for Canberra in 2022 but has committed his long term future to Paramatta from 2023 onwards and this is a common occurrence under the current system in the NRL.
Isaiah Papali’i, Apisai Koroisau and Luciano Leilua have also signed for new clubs in 2023 but will still have to give their all for their current clubs with Brandon Smith of Melbourne also set to commit his future to Premiership rivals Sydney Roosters according to zerotackle. This is despite the fact he could go on to torment the Roosters in 2022 as both sides go for glory next season.
This leaves players, coaches and fans in an awkward position as supporters are even forced to cheer on players they know won’t be at the club beyond the upcoming season.
The current system has caused a rift between the NRL and the Rugby League Players Association, with NRL boss Andrew Abdo noting the need for change whilst the RLPA have stated they will not back change.
Former St Helens and Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown, who is currently in charge of the New Zealand Warriors, has weighed in on the subject noting the need for change suggesting the introduction of trade windows, like those seen in football, might be the way forward.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “I’m not sure what the perfect answer is, or whether there is an answer that will please everyone.
“If we go down that path we do need a number of trade windows, we don’t just need one — a trade window in October isn’t enough. Rugby league has become somewhat transient, I think we need a system that takes that into account.”