Media Releases News

RLPA commend NRL on 2020 Telstra Premiership Draw

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has welcomed the release of the 2020 Telstra Premiership Draw today, commending the NRL on delivering an overall improved schedule for next season.

The NRL has taken into consideration the guiding principles established by the RLPA in recent years, highlighted by a reduction in five-day turnarounds and the mitigation of issues associated with their occurrence.

The 2020 Draw includes various improvements relating to player workloads – such as:

  • A reduction in five-day turnarounds (25 in 2020 compared to 26 in 2019)
  • A reduction in the amount of substantial travel either side of five-day turnarounds (1 in 2020, compared to 3 in 2019)
  • Both teams who avoided five-day turnarounds completely (Brisbane and Gold Coast) are non-Sydney based teams (and therefore impacted more by travel overall)
  • Teams who have the most five-day turnarounds in 2020 are not the same teams as those who had the most in 2019

RLPA General Manager of Stakeholder Relations, Clint Newton, said:

“We understand the complexities and competing interests that exist when developing the Telstra Premiership Draw each season.

“We recognise that the NRL have worked hard again this year to manage a no doubt challenging process.

“In our view, player welfare must always remain paramount during the development of the schedule, as well as maintaining a level of equality across the competition.

“Whilst developing the perfect Draw will always be difficult based on the current schedule and competing interests, further improvements have been made in a number of areas.

“The NRL consulted with the RLPA through the process, albeit that we will seek to increase our engagement in the future.

“While we ideally want to reduce the amount of five-day turnarounds, it is also important to reduce the issues associated with these events such as travel either side and the length of time between each occurrence for Clubs affected more than once – to not only protect player welfare but also the overall quality of the competition.

“We are generally pleased with the reduction of substantial travel either side of the five-day turnarounds for 2020, with one team set to be impacted compared with three in 2019.

“We will work with that Club and the NRL to try and mitigate the impact for the players.

“The State of Origin period continues to present problems for Clubs, players and fans.

“Clubs and fans understandably want their best players on the field following Origin, but it can take a significant toll on players and impact on their ability to perform at their best for their Clubs.

“It’s exciting to take State of Origin to new markets such as Adelaide, but one consequence is the additional travel for the players who are due to back-up for their Clubs.

“We will continue to work with the NRL and Clubs to identify appropriate solutions in the future.

“Based on our initial analysis, there are several areas that we will continue to discuss with the NRL but overall we are comfortable with the 2020 Draw.”

Newton added that he was excited with a number of positive outcomes for fans in the draw, including additional matches in regional areas.

“It’s great to see more regional venues set to host NRL matches in 2020 and fan-friendly time-slots,” Newton said.

“It’s important to the growth of the game that we continue to engage with regional communities.

“We will also work with the NRL to ensure facilities at all venues set to host NRL fixtures next season meet the minimum standards required.”