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Todd Greenberg says NRL's round 13 rule is still the best system available

Date

Chris Barrett and Brad Walter

No deal: James Tedesco (r) rejected a huge pay-day to stay put.

No deal: James Tedesco (r) rejected a huge pay-day to stay put. Photo: Getty Images

The NRL's head of football Todd Greenberg has defended the competition's under-fire regulations that allowed James Tedesco to back out of a $1.9 million deal with Canberra only a week after the Raiders announced his acquisition for the next three years.

The 21-year-old fullback decided to remain with Wests Tigers just before the expiration of the NRL's official cooling-off period for players who have agreed to join other clubs for next season and beyond.

It led to calls for the scrapping of the so-called "round 13 rule", which dictates that contracts are not registered with the NRL until the halfway point of the season, thus allowing players to change their minds.

However, Greenberg said on Thursday it was the most workable model available, and far better than the previous system, which prohibited rival clubs from speaking to off-contract players until after June 30.

"The concept is simply that it gives the incumbent club every opportunity to retain their players. That was the catalyst for this at the start of it and that's why it remains there," Greenberg said.

The former Canterbury chief executive said when the transfer period was set after June 30 – players, agents and clubs simply began negotiations beforehand discreetly.

"On 1st July, all of a sudden you'd have these players announcing they were signing with clubs. There is not much use putting rules in place if you can't enforce them," Greenberg said. "It wasn't ideal for the game because what happens is there is no doubt that, behind the scenes, people are having conversations but they're trying to have them away from the public eye and it's just not workable. The June 30 rule was just impossible to police."

Tedesco's change of heart was the second time in two seasons that Ricky Stuart has had a high-profile signing perform an about-face. Josh Papalii broke a three-year agreement with Parramatta last year, when Stuart was running the Eels, to stay in Canberra. In a statement, the Raiders coach said the club would press on in the market after also failing to lure Melbourne's Kevin Proctor and Penrith winger Josh Mansour, and having Anthony Milford decide to join Brisbane.

"Despite the recent disappointments of losing players whom we had identified to fulfil these roles, I want to assure – in particular, our members and fans, stakeholders and the Canberra community – that we will continue to push forward with an aggressive recruitment program that's aimed at bringing deserved success to a great football club," Stuart said. "These disappointments have only added to our resolve to achieve our goals."

Other club chief executives were also supportive of the present system.

"To be honest, up until this last few days, I haven't put a lot of thought into that rule but I am a believer that there needs to be some form of cooling off period when players decide to leave a club," said Tigers chief Grant Mayer, whose club were the big winners in the Tedesco episode.

"It doesn't happen a lot but, when it does, there is a pretty fierce reaction and I think we have got to somehow work out how we manage that going forward.

"I am the benefactor of that rule so I would never bag it. I know some players have come out and been critical of it but all we are doing is utilising the rule that is there and, for us, it has worked in our favour."

Cowboys chief Peter Jourdain said there was no perfect system but giving players time to contemplate switching clubs made sense.

"This is just a view from a distance but it sounds like Tedesco has decided to take less to stay at a club he came through with, and to stay with all the players he came through with, and I think that is good," Jourdain said.

"We were able to keep our big three last year for less money than they could have got if they had gone somewhere else as well.

"You talk about transfer windows at the end of the season and that sort of stuff, but it just becomes bullshit because the negotiations happen anyway and people will just get around it, so If it is out in the public it is not hidden." 

2 comments so far

  • I had wondered if Todd and his mates had all gone on holidays.
    Their silence regarding the ongoing lifting tackle debacle is deafening.

    Then again, that appears to be the normal mode of operation anytime something occurs which has the potential to make Todd or the NRL/ARLC look bad.

    Commenter
    Ordinary Bloke
    Date and time
    June 06, 2014, 9:02AM
    • Chris/Brad - so would Greenberg (and others in NRL Officialdom) please explain when is a contract "not a contract". As someone who studied contract law I would suggest that regardless of NRL Registration a contract signed by both parties; free from external forces; a consideration (money & performance) are evident makes for a legally binding contract. So IMHO its about time the NRL stopped with this pretence (you cannot be a "little bit pregnant") and either has full-season transfers or we have a limited transfer window (10 days after Grand Final to 31 Dec). But not this current garbage!

      Commenter
      saint mike II
      Location
      Kiama Downs
      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 9:37AM

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