Auckland Nines, All Stars game, WCC, club trials and injuries…The season hasn’t even started and burnout is a factor. If there can ever be such a thing as overkill, this is it. There is simply too much football and it is my belief the RLPA needs to limit the amount of games a player can play throughout the course of the season. The NRL needs to increase the squad size by five players and adjust the salary cap accordingly to ensure a good rotation of players can be used throughout the season and the games elite players are not glorified battery hens for the game.
Do experienced players really need to play trials? Trials should be for fringe players and players new to a club. Sure, a coach needs to have a look at his squad but we all know certain players are certainties for their respective position and should be used sparingly in the trials, purely to gain match fitness and that’s it.
A gruelling season lay ahead and serious injuries are now far more common due to the size, fitness and athletic ability of players. The long term effects of these injuries is yet to be known and it may take 2 years before the full effect comes to light.
I find it farcical some teams are traveling to England to play in a nothing tournament against sub par opponents that serves no practical purpose other than to injure key players. I’m sure if any player from a participating NRL side is lost for the season, the validity of the matches will be brought into question.
Ben Ridge, Fa’amanu Brown, Cameron Smith and Josh Dugan are just a few names that come to mind who have suffered serious pre-season injuries that will most definitely affect the on field aspirations of their respective clubs.
I realise shortening a season has an impact of the value of tv rights but the game in its current format is not sustainable unless radical changes are made to the salary cap to allow expansion of playing rosters to 30, interchange limits and limits on accrued playing time based on the players position.