Draw's focus on player welfare
NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg has emphasised the greater importance given to player welfare when collating the draw for the 2016 season.
With five days of football – between Thursday and Monday set to be played for 18 rounds of the season – Greenberg said it won't hinder player welfare in that five-day turnarounds will not increase, rather they'll remain the same.
"Clearly we're trying to make sure and to work with our players and the RLPA to minimise five-day turnarounds. They'll be flat lined; there will be exactly the same amount of five-day turnarounds as there were in 2015," Greenberg said.
"In the outer years you'll see a decrease as we'll see Monday Night Football eradicated in 2017. We have been in constant contact with Clint Newton at the RLPA as well as relationships we have with senior players across all clubs.
"It's very clear to us that player welfare is a fundamental to us and how we do the draw."
Upon announcing the broadcast rights for seasons 2018-2022, ARLC Chairman and interim NRL CEO John Grant said 2016 will be a "transitional year" with a view to decrease five-day turnarounds.
Otherwise Greenberg went on to describe the intricacies involved with the draw, though was ultimately pleased with the final outcome.
"The fact we're playing football from Thursday to Monday [for 18 weeks] is a massive win for the fans. We have been in touch with fans from all 16 clubs and there are a lot of positives for their planning in their 2016 campaign," Greenberg said.
"Doing a draw like this has a lot of complexities: stadium availabilities, other codes using those stadiums in this country, the availability of games to play in commercial slots, keeping both broadcasters to their contractual agreements.
"We balance all that with the concerns of players and the turnaround times. But we have come up with a great season structure for 2016."