A Plan for Rugby League in Australia Last NRL season I thought about a number of things. One of these was how much more I love Rugby Union than this sport and another was how disgusting the Penrith Panthers fans are. However, I also realised that the season was terribly demanding on all the players and there were a number of teams disadvantaged by players missing due to representative honours while the NRL is still running. Over the past few months I have been devising a plan that will hopefully make playing and watching League more enjoyable and take the strain off all involved in Australian Rugby League. This plan will be presenting over the next few pages, so please take your time to consider some changes. The Australian Rugby League Schedule January: Off-season February: NRL Pre-season, knockout tournament March: NRL April: NRL ANZAC Test May: NRL June: NRL July: NRL Finals Series City .v. Country Rep Match August: State of Origin Series September: Mid-season break October: Rugby League Tri-Series November: Rugby League Tri-Series World Club Championship (Game One) December: World Club Championship (Game Two) The NRL Pre-Season The NRL pre-season, at the moment, is simply made up of trial matches where the idea is to select teams for the NRL. I believe however that there should be a knockout tournament involving all the teams from the regular competition. In an attempt to make Rugby League a more national sport all games should be played in Adelaide and Perth. The following is a schedule for matches: Round One: Adelaide â€“ 4 matches Perth â€“ 4 matches Round Two: Adelaide â€“ 2 matches Perth â€“ 2 matches Round Three: Adelaide â€“ 1 match Perth â€“ 1 match Final: The final of this knockout tournament will be played in either Perth or Adelaide as well. The hosts will alternate each year so that the distribution of matches is fair. All pre-season matches will be four-quarter matches. Each quarter will last for twenty minutes with five-minute breaks. Should scores be ties at full time there will be an unlimited period of Golden Point extra time. The NRL As of 2007 there will be 16 teams in the NRL and quite frankly 30 rounds is too long for a tournament. Week in and week out you will see the same teams take to the field and that isnâ€™t exciting if the season is so long. There will inevitably be a number of injuries that may or may not disadvantage particular teams as well, so I believe that the NRL should consist of two pools of eight teams. For example: Pool 1: Brisbane Canberra Gold Coast Canterbury New Zealand Parramatta South Sydney West Sydney Pool 2: Sydney North Queensland St. George/Illawarra Cronulla Manly Melbourne Penrith Newcastle Each team will play every other team in their pool twice and there will be no byes. When the ANZAC Test is played the NRL will have a one-week break as to not disadvantage teams that have players representing their country. Points will be allocated as such: â€¢ 2 points for a win, one bonus point for winning by six or more points â€¢ 0 points for a loss, one bonus point for losing by six or less points â€¢ 1 point for a draw There will be no form of Extra Time in the pool matches. The top four teams from each pool will progress through to the finals series, which will run for three weeks. Finals Series Schedule: Quarter Finals: â€¢ QF1. Pool 1 (First) .v. Pool 2 (Fourth) â€¢ QF2. Pool 1 (Second) .v. Pool 2 (Third) â€¢ QF3. Pool 2 (First) .v. Pool 1 (Fourth) â€¢ QF4. Pool 2 (Second) .v. Pool 1 (Third) Semi Finals: â€¢ SF1. Winner of QF1 .v. Winner of QF4 â€¢ SF2. Winner of QF2 .v. Winner of QF3 Final: â€¢ Winner of SF1 .v. Winner of SF2 The final of the NRL will be played at Telstra Stadium. Should the scores be tied at full time in a finals match there will be two periods of ten minutes of Extra Time (not Golden Point) given. In the event of a tie at the end of the Extra Time there will be a goal kick shoot-out. Pool allocation will be an important part of the new look NRL, so I have decided that the eight teams that compete in the previous yearâ€™s finals series are placed in Pool One, the others are placed in Pool Two. This way there will be four new teams in the finals each year. Including the entire NRL break and the finals series there will be 18 weeks of top rate Rugby League every year. This means that players will be able to have sufficient break before the Rep Matches begin. Representative Matches The ANZAC Day Test This match is played on the Saturday of the ANZAC Day long-weekend. The match will give the NRL a one-week break. It is contested between Australia and New Zealand and both countries will host it in alternating years. The same Extra Time rule applies to this match as seen in the NRL finals series. The City .v. Country Match This is played one week after the completion of the NRL. The game is played on a Saturday and acts as a selection match for the NSW State of Origin team. It has the same Extra Time rule as the NRL finals series. State of Origin Played two weeks after the City .v. Country, Origin consists of three matches played between Queensland and NSW. Each state will host one game and the other will be played at neutral ground. Game 1: NSW Game 2: Neutral (Victoria) Game 3: Queensland NSW and Queensland will alternate between the first and third matches each season. The series has the same Extra Time rule as the NRL finals series. The Rugby League Tri Series This is a series between Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia and is played in October and November. Each country will host the series every three years. There will be six regular matches (each team plays every other team twice) with no Extra Time rule and a final between the two highest placed teams with the same Extra Time rule as the NRL finals series. Point allocation for the series is the same as the NRL. The World Club Championship This is a two match series contested between the winner of the English Super League and the NRL. Each team will host one game and the series will take place after the Tri Series in November and December. Both games will be contested over four quarters of twenty minutes and if the scores are tied at full-time there will be a period of unlimited Golden Point. The winner of the series is the team with the highest aggregate score after the two matches. Hopefully this has provided you with sufficient insight into the mind of Jack Lattimore, thankyou for taking your time to read this plan of mine, and if you havenâ€™t, well donâ€™t bother making a comment. Good evening.