NRL stars saved gruelling back-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL stars saved gruelling back-up

Steve Jancetic 21/07/2011 06:29:04 PM Comments (0)

Players will no longer be forced to back-up for NRL games 24 hours after representative fixtures, with the 2012 season to be extended by a week to accommodate a representative weekend.

Next year's mid-year Test and what could be the last City-Country match will be played on a standalone weekend, ahead of more drastic proposed changes in 2013, when State of Origin could be shifted to Monday nights.

The proposals were put to a meeting of chairmen and chief executives from all 16 NRL clubs in Sydney on Thursday, with player burnout high on the agenda.

The move of Origin to a Monday night, with just one game on the following Friday night, means only a handful of players would be forced to back-up on four days rest, while the scrapping of the Monday night game preceding Origin would still give the NSW and Queensland squads an eight-day preparation.

"We're looking to alleviate the issues around player welfare and certainly next year looking for a standalone weekend so that players aren't forced to play the next day and the day after the Test match and the City-Country as occurred this year," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.

"Then into the future a situation where rather than playing two days later, players will be playing four days later with Origin."

Byes will also be done away with under the new schedule, with one Origin to be a standalone affair and split rounds being played around the other two.

NRL chief operating officer Nathan McGuirk said NSW coach Ricky Stuart, retiring Maroons' skipper Darren Lockyer and St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett - whose club was most affected during the Origin period - were consulted in designing the new season structure.

Stuart initially had mixed reservations about the Monday timeslot, for fear of jeopardising the build-up to each game, but the possibility of abandoning some Monday night NRL matches in the new broadcast deal helped alleviate his concerns.

"As a prominent coach said to us, it's almost bordering on cruel what we ask players in backing up from Wednesday Origins into weekend matches," McGuirk said.

"It's a serious issue that had to be addressed. We believe that Monday nights would be a positive move for players.

"We spoke to Ricky about how preparation would be changed with regards to Monday Origin and the impact of taking away the Monday night match the previous week which will allow them to have a full week's preparation.

"Ricky's position was that if we could provide one day less of preparation to at least provide two days more backing up for players, then that's a positive thing."

Also, with the 2012 season to start a week earlier, it was determined the first game would be on a Thursday night, with the All-Stars match to also be moved forward a week.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news