Chief executive Todd Greenberg said there was unanimous support among the states and the 16 NRL clubs toward setting up future trade windows as well as an overhaul of player contract models.
After a CEOs meeting at Moore Park headquarters on Wednesday, Greenberg emerged saying he had already spoken to the RLPA about “diving more deeply” into these two issues, and acknowledged the players’ input was essential.
The option is for up to three trade windows – most likely at the end of the season, before the start of the new one, and after the State of Origin series.
The principle reason for the shake-up was for a more orderly way for players to change clubs.
“Sometimes I think it’s a little messy - and I think the fans find it very frustrating – when there’s this constant movement of clubs throughout the year, when they’re playing in the jersey of the team they support,” Greenberg said.
"And I think there’s a way for us, without removing all the freedom of contracts that the players currently enjoy, to still make a more orderly process out of all this.
"I’m not suggesting I’m going to be stopping clubs and coaches having coffee shop meetings – that’s never going to stop.
“What I am suggesting is that there are periods of time during the year where we openly announce them, talk about them, and disclose them.”
Greenberg said he needed to “take players on that journey” of tidying up aspects of the player movement and contracting process.
He also suggested transfer windows could bring monetary value to the game because of the media attention it would create around rugby league and club brands.
“There are some good learnings from other international sports. We’re forever looking for ways to improve ourselves and this has got improvement written all over it,” Greenberg said.
The RLPA has already stated this week its reservations about “windows” as a restraint of trade on players, meaning they can’t jump at an opportunity if it presents itself outside of the allocated time frame.
“We do not believe there are significant issues relating to the current player contracting and movement that require urgent attention, compared with other matters in the game, and there are minimal benefits to players based on the proposals we have received,” the RLPA said.
“We believe that the freedom of player movement and contracting helps generate significant interest in the sport and balances the player talent – contributing to one of the most balanced competition in the world.”
Greenberg said trade windows could start as early as 2021. A working group – a mixture of club representatives and NRL staff – has been set up to try to find ways of improving the system.