It’s time the NRL’s ’round 13′ rule expired

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

By Luke Doherty, Luke Doherty is a Roar Guru

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    Brisbane Broncos' player Corey Norman. AAP Image/Dan Peled

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    You can forgive Parramatta fans for needing a little more reassurance than the average rugby league supporter. The club has almost signed more players over the last two years than just about any other.

    Earlier this week, the Eels announced the capture of Redcliffe born product Corey Norman from Brisbane, but the press release came with a cuddle and a pat on the back for those who no longer believe anything until they see it.

    “I understand that under the NRL rules I have until round 13 to change my mind, but I just wanted Eels members, fans and sponsors to know that I will be standing 100% by my decision to make the move to Sydney,” Norman said.

    “I have made a commitment by signing a contract and I will see that commitment and contract through.”

    Now, they’re nice words, but they’ll mean absolutely nothing to the Eels faithful who’ve been burnt many times before.

    On February 22, the club confirmed they’d signed Canberra forward Josh Papalii to a three year deal.

    “Heading to Parramatta next season is a new and exciting challenge,” Papalii said.

    “They are a club on the rise and I am looking forward to being a part of what Ricky Stuart and the team up there are doing.”

    Just weeks later, the 20-year-old decided that he wasn’t quite looking forward to what Ricky Stuart and the team were doing and decided instead to stay in Canberra.

    Now, apart from offending everyone of a blue and gold persuasion, Papalii did nothing wrong.

    Players know they have until round 13 to change their minds.

    Still, it’s an uncomfortable reality for rugby league fans.

    It has gone too far when a player has to actually promise to show up at a club he has signed for just hours after putting pen to paper.

    The NRL needs to remove this loophole because it paints the player and the league in a bad light.

    That’s not to say players should have a restricted ‘transfer window’ like opportunity to move. In fact, quite the opposite.

    Let them move whenever they want. Let them move years before, like James Maloney, or just days ahead of the new season.

    It doesn’t really matter.

    It’s just important that people can be taken at their word.

    It’s sad when a signature on a contract means absolutely nothing.

    It’s even more worrying when a player like Norman has to re-assure supporters of his new club that, come pre-season, he’ll actually be there.

    The players are being painted as the bad guys at the moment, but they aren’t. They’re only playing by the rules handed down by head office.

    It’s time the rule was changed.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • March 27th 2013 @ 8:41am
      oikee said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      I would just like to add, i will be moving to Parramatta at the end of the year. I cant wait to move to this part of the world where the birds sing and river flows , um ,, yes flows.
      I will see you soon, love ya Parra.

      p.s, that is of course i dont change my mind and common sense prevails.

      Seriously now, Corey is moving to Parramatta. He got shafted by the Broncos and Scott Prince was his cue to get out of town. The Broncos have lost the plot since Bennett left the club.
      We have now lost nearly all our juniors. We have now had to look at buying players, and you think Parra has problems.
      The Broncos and Brisbane are sinking, faster than the Titanic.
      The NRL has got to get another 2 teams into this area ASAP. Should have happened 10 years ago.

    • Roar Guru

      March 27th 2013 @ 2:12pm
      Rabbitz said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

      Hi Luke,

      The marketing people might see him as a product but, in reality, he is a person….

      “Earlier this week, the Eels announced the capture of Redcliffe born product Corey Norman from Brisbane”

    • March 27th 2013 @ 3:59pm
      Chop said | March 27th 2013 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

      Now, apart from offending everyone of a blue and gold persuasion, Papalii did nothing wrong.

      Yes I am a Parra supporter but living in Canberra I have a soft spot for the Raiders.

      He signed an employment contract, I would think if this happened in corporate land there would be legal proceedings around knowingly encouraging someone not to forfil a legal contract.

      The NRL is a joke when it comes to the processes around player movement. I think they should instigate a range of alternatives including a draft..

    • March 27th 2013 @ 10:43pm
      Phelpsy said | March 27th 2013 @ 10:43pm | ! Report

      If you were a coach and your team had no chance if making finals … Would you okay someone who had signed at another club or give game time to an up and coming player ?? I would definitely do the later

    • March 28th 2013 @ 10:23am
      Sleemo said | March 28th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      No club wants a player who doesn’t want to be there. This is an unfortunate reality of the modern game. As a result the players effectively have the power to decide if they want to stay at or leave a club by going to the coach/CEO and saying “Look, I don’t really want to be here, any chance we could sort something out and you could let me go?” The club are stuck between a rock and a hard place because on the one hand they don’t want to release one of their players to a rival club, but if they keep him the player won’t be a good influence around training and probably won’t be putting in 100% during the game.

      I do agree the Round 13 rule is a bit ridiculous – I didn’t even know it existed until this year – but the fact is either the players have a standard NRL agreement allowing them to change their mind on a contract signed up until Round 13 (which would supersede individual player contracts) or such a clause is part of each individual contract. In my view it shouldn’t be this way – just creates more problems for the game and pressure on players to change their minds.

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