Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah has warned his club to learn from the James Tedesco saga and move to re-sign coach Mick Potter.
Just a week after Tedesco agreed to a three-year contract with Canberra, the 21-year-old reneged on the deal before the June 30 deadline – the day the NRL officially registers contracts for the following season.
Farah today expressed his displeasure not only with the rule, but with his club for letting it reach a point where his teammate was forced to issue an apology to Canberra for the stunning switch.
"Obviously I'm disappointed in how it was handled. I think it definitely could've been handled a lot better. The only people that handled it the right way were the Canberra Raiders," Farah said on Thursday.
"We as a club need to learn from the way it was handled because a kid that wanted to stay here should never have felt like he needed to leave. The whole time he wanted to stay.
"So there's no doubt it could've been handled a lot better and that's something as a club we need to be better at."
Tedesco came under-fire on social media on Wednesday night for his sudden change of heart but his club captain came to defence, saying his teammate hadn't broken any rules.
“The rule's there, it's happened before. It's not the first time it's happened, so he's well within his rights to do that," Farah said.
"And as I said, it happened last year [with Josh Papalii]. It's been going on for many years. Do I agree with the rule? Probably not. But it's there and in this case, it's worked out positively for us."
CEO Grant Mayer said one solution to yesterday's contract bungle was to delay the announcement of new signings until the June 30 deadline.
"I think the key is announcement," he said. "I think the rule may be okay. From my point of view the rule is great today, so I can't say anything about it. From Canberra's perspective it's not a great rule. If you're going to do a deal, perhaps the announcement of that deal should be looked at.
"I don't think there's any perfect answer. I like the idea of a cooling off period and I guess round 13 is that cooling off period. I think there's got to be something. What the perfect solution is, I don't know, but at the end of the day, we've benefited from the rule that was in play. I can only say it's great. I can certainly understand the disappointment from Canberra's point of view."
The imminent re-signing of Tedesco is a huge boost for a club that has also tied down the services of youngsters Curtis Sironen and David Nofoaluma, as well as NSW prop Aaron Woods earlier this year.
All that's left now, Farah says, is for the club to show more commitment to off-contract coach Mick Potter, than it did to Tedesco. The former NSW fullback was reportedly 24 hours away from being punted in his first year as an NRL coach last season, but has overseen a thoroughly improved squad that is currently in the top eight.
"Obviously last year was a difficult year for him but I really think he's handled himself really well this year," Farah said.
"It shows the way we started and the way we're playing. And the development the young kids have made. So again, for everyone's sake, we need that sorted out."
Potter, who recently gained the services of veteran coach Brain Smith as consultant, said he was confident of earning an extension on his current deal.
"I think that's in the process, so I'd let that take care of itself. That'll be fine," he said.