Why the big name NRL players are wary of transfer windows

Rugby League Players Association director Daly Cherry-Evans is unsure whether the introduction of transfer windows will be welcomed by the majority of players, who he stresses need flexibility when it comes to signing new contracts.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo has been upfront in his desire to explore the prospect of the biggest overhaul of player movement in the game’s history, arguing the current free for all is unsettling for fans.

Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

The biggest concern for players is the prospect of them being forced to pack up families and move interstate or overseas if the main transfer window was placed after the grand final. It could also prevent long-serving players from having farewells at clubs they are leaving.

“The NBA and NFL, you can be with one team one night then another the next,” Tigers captain James Tamou said. “I hope our game is never like that, otherwise I think [transfer windows] could be very positive.”

The NRL could introduce trade windows as soon as next season, in what would also provide a commercial opportunity for the code with the biggest shake-up of player movement in the game’s history.

Clubs will be allowed to sign players until an August 1 deadline this year after the NRL extended the cut-off point for finalising rosters from its usual June 30 deadline.

A working group including NRL chief financial officer Richard Gardham, Wests Tigers general manager of football Adam Hartigan, Panthers high performance manager Matt Cameron and Rugby League Players Association executives Tim Lythe and Tom Symonds has been tasked with exploring the introduction of transfer windows.

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