NRL to look at registration rules

The frenzy over Daly Cherry-Evans’s future has convinced NRL boss Dave Smith to reassess registration rules that are “not in the best interests of the fans”.

Smith said he shared the fans’ frustration over the ongoing speculation on Cherry-Evans and would look at an alternative to the “round 13” rule.

Manly playmaker Cherry-Evans has publicly dodged questions since rumours emerged he may pull out of a four-year deal with the Gold Coast Titans from 2016.

Cherry-Evans reportedly rang Titans chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle last week to assure her he would come to the Gold Coast.

However, the Titans won’t know for certain if he will honour his $1.1 million per year deal until after round 13.

Manly have until then to try and convince their matchwinner to stay at Brookvale under current NRL registration rules – much to Smith’s frustration.

“It’s a process that has been in place before my time. My own view is it’s not necessarily in the best interests of the fans,” he said of the “round 13” clause.

“I don’t think there’s a perfect system. If there is a better a system we will come up with it.

“If you take it from a fan’s perspective, they don’t want to see that sort of thing.

“I am going to take a look at it.

“We want to make sure the people they (fans) are spending their hard-earned dollars on are going to be in that team.”

The NRL introduced the “round 13” registration deadline under the previous David Gallop administration in a bid to stop players signing for rival clubs with sometimes years left on their contract.

Asked if a contract was still binding in the NRL, Smith said: “I’m old fashioned in that context.

“If you sign a contract…then you are committed and that should be the way it is.

“I can understand why there’s frustration from the fan’s perspective.

“It’s something that is commented on year in, year out.

“(But) I don’t think it’s any more of an embarrassment that it was perhaps last year or the year before that.”

New NRL head of strategy Shane Richardson is currently reviewing player transfer models with a long term view of introducing an NRL draft system and transfer windows.

It is believed the NRL transfer window would be similar to that in the English Premier League which has an end-of-season trade period between June 9 and September 1 and a mid-season period from January 1-31.

“One of the things I have asked Shane to consider across the blueprint, across the structure is a player draft,” Smith said.

“That’s not something that we are going to consider in the near term.

“It’s something we are going to think through very carefully and set up the structure, blueprint and the competition and the pathways for the next decade.”

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