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Understanding mid-season player moves

Daniel Anderson NRL.com Fri, Jun 01, 2012 - 9:00 AM

Krisnan Inu starred on debut for the Bulldogs after signing from the Warriors mid-week. Copyright: NRL Photos

NRL players are contracted to their clubs from November 1 to October 31. Nearly all players will fulfil these contract time periods, but there will be a minority who will play with more than one NRL club in a single season, move competitions and play in the Super League, sign with another code or sign an NRL contract that commences later than November 1.

While there is some conjecture that Michael Jennings may not fulfill the entire length of his contract at the Panthers, some players have already moved into this category in season 2012.

They include Willie Mason (rugby union – Knights), Krisnan Inu (Warriors – Bulldogs), Dane Gagai (Broncos – Knights), Mitch Brown (Tigers – Bulldogs), Ray Cashmere (Illawarra Cutters – Tigers) and Masada Iosefa (Raiders – Tigers). I can guaranteed there will be more.

When is the deadline?

Registrations of players by the NRL will finish at end of June 30, 2012.

Why do clubs sign players mid-season?

There is tremendous scrutiny on NRL clubs and if you are sitting in the bottom half of the table, you are looking at methods to improve your team and its position on the competition ladder. If you have a club that has a strong and healthy roster then the obvious solution is to train hard and coach players into improving.

If your club have sustained season-ending injuries to players identified as 'starting 13', such as St George Illawarra's Michael Weyman or Canberra's Terry Campese, a quick scroll through your club's back-up players may influence your decision.

The Newcastle Knights have lost captain and halfback Kurt Gidley for the rest of 2012. Ryan Stig would be considered a replacement for Kurt but he is also out for the season. Newcastle must consider support in the halves outside of Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts. This could be a positional switch within or search outside.

What are the financial implications for the clubs in the mid-season transfer process?

Here's a hypothetical example. Let's look at a player named Duncan Biscuits who plays for Darwin. Duncan is contracted until the end of 2013 for $300,000 per season. At the end of May, Duncan would have been paid seven months or $175,000.

Therefore he is owed $425,000 (five months of 2012, plus 2013). Another club asks Darwin if Duncan can be released to play for them. The new club offers him $350,000 for the same period. For Duncan to move clubs, Darwin will have to pay Duncan the extra $75,000 he would have earned if he stayed. By doing so, Darwin has 'freed up' $300,000 to recruit another player for 2013. Darwin must also absorb the extra $75,000 they paid Duncan into their salary cap.

Why do players want to move clubs?

Players want to move because they want to play first-team football. They will move to another NRL club or to Super League to play first grade and hence increase their personal worth. Players will also move because they are offered more money. Craig Wing moved from the NRL to Japanese rugby because they made him an offer that he could not refuse.

This is a simplified explanation of the possible scenarios. They can be more complex than this but most of the mid- season movements revolve around money and player worth. Players need to play first grade to get the best value for their next contract. Clubs need to move players so they can free up money to recruit other players. Clubs need to win games for increased sponsorship, merchandising and ticket season sales.

June 30 is still a month away. Rest assured there will be more action before then.

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