NRL invests $10.8 million in state leagues
The NRL has allocated $10.8 million over three years to develop the New South Wales and Queensland Cup pathways, with the winners of the two competitions to face off on NRL Grand Final Day.
The $3.6 million per year will consist of $100,000 to each of the 12 clubs in each league, as well as a $1 million pool to be allocated on a discretionary basis to where it's most needed, with the remainder set aside to improve coverage and promotion.
"We've done a whole review of the pathways and there's no doubt based on all the feedback and all the statistics that the state cup competition is a very important part of the league pathways," NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle told NRL.com.
"We've got the NYC which is also extremely important so both of them are obviously something we're going to continue to progress and raise the profile of.
"On Grand Final Day will be the winners if the Queensland Cup versus the winners of the New South Wales Cup. So we'll have a national championship and we'll invest to continue to grow and promote that game."
With the focus on raising standards, clubs won't receive the $100,000 "just for nothing" but will be required to have good governance structures in place and good medical standards, Doyle said.
"It's really about the standard of that competition because we have a lot of elite players that play in those state cup competitions," he said.
The NRL will be hoping to leverage the investment – so for example if a club wanted to upgrade its changing room facilities at a cost of $300,000 they may be able to get $150,000 or so from the local council, Doyle said.
"So we end up with more than the $1 million going in to help the game because we can leverage it, get other local councils and corporate sponsors and that sort of thing to help as well."