The silly season of player movement between clubs is about to get into full swing but Rugby League Players Association general manager of player relations Clint Newton says establishing a dedicated trade window is not an immediate priority.
It's doubtful whether the player transfer market has ever been more fluid in the history of the game in Australia with many clubs making late acquisitions prior to the June 30 deadline this season, none more so than the Gold Coast Titans who snared Nathan Peats, Konrad Hurrell and Jarryd Hayne well after the season had begun.
Elijah Taylor, Tariq Sims, Joe Burgess and Chris Grevsmuhl all made mid-season moves while Junior Paulo and Joe Tapine could yet win a premiership with the Raiders having started the year at the Eels and Knights respectively.
In the past week confirmation of player movements for 2017 have surfaced in the form of Nathan Brown (Rabbitohs) and George Jennings (Panthers) joining the Eels, David Mead (Titans) signing with the Broncos and Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers) joining the Rabbitohs as Cameron McInnes heads for St George Illawarra.
There will be many more to come between now and Round 1 next season but as someone who benefited in his career from a mid-season switch from Newcastle to Melbourne, Newton believes the ability to move freely should be seen as a positive for the game.
"One of the good things about our game is the ability for players to not be restricted as much as in other rival codes in their ability to move and we've seen the benefits of that in certain areas," Newton told NRL.com.
"And this is coming from someone who has actually experienced it first-hand when I left Newcastle after Round 8. If I was unable to do that I don't go on and have one of the best years of my life both on and off the field.
"It is a complex issue around what the benefits would be in changing the system. Going through that and pressure-testing it and making sure that any decision that is made that we'll look to implement in the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) is adding value to what it already a great game.
"We're certainly open to having the discussion around anything that will add further value to the game whilst not restraining the players or further restricting them too much."
Although he said the wider playing group within the NRL would be canvassed as to their opinions on a formalised trade period, Newton said the main issue of concern for the RLPA was the vulnerability of players at clubs with poorly-managed rosters.
When the extent of Parramatta's salary cap cheating was exposed earlier this year Nathan Peats become something of the sacrificial lamb that needed to be offloaded in order for the Eels to begin playing for points again.
Although he had the right to remain at Parramatta until the end of the season Peats chose to sacrifice himself for the good of the team he was departing, a position Newton insists should be prevented from happening in future.
"One of the things that we do have an issue with is any time a player is punished for a poorly managed roster," Newton said.
"That's one of the things that is still an issue in our game, where if the club hasn't managed their roster effectively then the players are in a pretty vulnerable position.
"We've got to try and make sure that everyone's on the same page with regards to honouring the contract and the integrity in which it was signed and making sure that players are continually brought along in that space and put in the centre of it.
"If decisions need to be made they need to be done respectfully and ensure that the players aren't coerced or bullied in the space."
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