Dual registration back on Q Cup agenda
PLAYERS from NSW-based NRL teams could again be aligned with clubs in the Queensland Cup.
Last year the New South Wales Rugby League used its weight on the Australian Rugby League board to scrap the rule that allowed dual registrations that had seen some NSW-based teams set up feeder club arrangements with Q Cup teams.
Scrapping the rule caused anger north of the border, and difficulties for some Q Cup clubs such as the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles which had benefitted enormously from its relationship with Manly, and also Souths-Logan which was forced to part ways with the Canberra Raiders.
NRL boss David Gallop had previously made no secret of the fact the decision had been aimed at strengthening the NSW Cup which has been waning in popularity in recent years.
But with speculation mounting in recent weeks that a backflip could be on the cards, Gallop said yesterday that rugby league's independent commission would consider re-implementing the dual registration rule.
"All I can say it is not currently on the commission's agenda, but we are monitoring the changes and it's something we would consider," he said.
"Clearly it has had some impact on the Intrust Super Cup, but equally the motivation was to bolster the NSW Cup, which was a good one."
QRL chief executive Rob Moore said his position on dual registration had not changed and he would support its reintroduction.
"We've always seen it the same way - it was a little bit short-sighted and had an adverse affect," he said.
Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles chief executive Justin Veivers said he would support the re-introduction of dual registration, although he stopped short of saying the club would enter into a feeder agreement similar to the one it shared with Manly.
He said the club was in negotiation with the Brisbane Bombers who are seeking to enter the NRL competition in the next round of expansion.
The Sea Eagles also recently met with the Melbourne Storm to discuss a possible player-sharing arrangement.
Veivers described the elimination of dual registration as short-sighted and said he would welcome it being put on the agenda.
"It just opens the market back up again," he said.
"At the moment it's closed. The Broncos, Cowboys and Titans are the only clubs who can align themselves to Q Cup clubs.
"It would open up the NSW clubs to Queensland players. The NSW clubs only have very small junior bases.
"It also opens them up to us - our players can go to a higher level."
The change brought about the end of the Manly-Sunshine Coast feeder deal, which delivered the Queensland Cup title to Stockland Park in the Sea Eagles' maiden season of 2009.
In recent weeks, rumours circulated that the independent commission was considering a backflip on the issue.
NRL chief executive Gallop yesterday told the Daily that although re-introducing dual registration was not on the commission's pressing agenda, it was something it would consider.
As a result of the scrapping of dual registration, the Sea Eagles were forced to cut their ties with Manly, and Souths-Logan parted ways with the Canberra Raiders.