The NRL has announced rules will be tightened for back-ended contracts in a bid to prevent the salary cap problems which have been created at some clubs in recent years.
CEO Todd Greenberg said the club bosses have agreed to the restrictions at their conference at NRL HQ on Wednesday.
Greenberg said the NRL would always support clubs offering higher value contracts to players as their careers developed.
The NRL’s salary cap auditor will finalise a model so that changes will be in place in 2019. The new system will restrict how much a player’s payment can rise from one season to the next in their contract.
"Historically we left [back-ended deals] up to clubs but there’s a clear appetite from the clubs for us to put rules in place. We agreed to put a working group in place to come back in the new year … effectively there are rules in place to stop back-ended contracts.
"There are only small number, albeit problematic ones, where clubs have got into trouble putting them into play and that has hurt so there’s a desire for us to get involved an ensure that doesn’t happen again.
“These deals can also give clubs an unfair salary cap advantage in the early years of a contract.”
NRL Telstra premiership draw 2019
Greenberg said approval would still be given for contracts where a rising star was offered a significant lift in their playing fee.
“We are not going to stop any player receiving what they are worth on the open market,” he said.
"But we have to stop clubs pushing payments to later years to reduce salary cap pressure in the short term.
There’s a clear appetite from the clubs for us to put rules in place.
The meeting of club CEOs also decided to set up a working party to look at the feasibility of a trade window for players.
The review will also consider the need for regulations covering coaching contracts.
The NRL’s new head of football, Graham Annesley, said he was considereing “a number of initiatives to review what took place this season”, including the use of the Referees’ Bunker.
“Referees’ boss Bernie Sutton will report directly to me from now on on all operational issues around officiating in the Telstra Premiership,” he said.
"The objective really is to deliver on the NRL’s strategic plan. One of the objectives is to implement free-flowing exciting football, that’s what we’ll be trying to do.
Any changes for contracts or a transfer window will ultimately go to the ARL Commission for approval.