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Rohan Smith suggests radical change to Super League recruitment rules

Rohan Smith

Recruitment is well and truly in full swing for 2024 and beyond.

That is always the case at this stage of the season which is in fairness unusual when compared to other sports.

All the business gets done in the off season in football except for some Hail Marys in January that is.

In rugby league, it is an ongoing cycle from May all the way through.

One club with important business to address is Leeds Rhinos. They have made their first move signing Catalans Dragons forward Mickael Goudemand for 2024.

However, they have key areas to address especially with both Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer out of contract.

The man at the heart of all this is of course Rohan Smith. The Leeds Rhinos boss suggested, as he was asked about recruitment being a distraction, that rugby league’s system should change:

“It’s a normal thing in rugby league it’s what rugby league’s created for itself. The lack of genuine transfer windows and players can pretty much freely move whenever they want, certainly within the NRL.

“It’s similar in Super League too. The deadline opens up, things open up officially on May 1st and it doesn’t close.

“So, you know, it’s an interesting system and concept. It’s not one I’d, you know, endorse by design, but it is what it is.”

In terms of recruitment being a distraction, Smith elaborated:

“It’s certainly a distraction for some people at various times. That’s, we’re dealing with human nature and knowing where your future lies is not always an easy thing to handle but it’s a professional sport, we all have to get on with doing our job as best we can and performances.

“You can’t always keep every player, you can’t always get every player that you want to get but you’ve got to have an eye to the future and have a roster that can do well now and also make decisions that are going to help the future as well and not.

“If you just make short term decisions all the time then you’re going to end up in a pickle at some point. So we’re trying to keep an eye on the future but every day of training is certainly about the present.”

When asked if the sport should have a transfer window, Smith said:

“Maybe so. There’s a lot of sports that do things a lot differently. I think Rugby League is one of the few sports where you can be contracted somewhere else but playing in a different club.”

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