AAP Rugby

Bennett leads call for NRL transfer window

By AAP Newswire

Wayne Bennett has led a chorus of NRL coaches to throw their support behind the introduction of a transfer window, saying: "I can't believe we haven't done it."

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown, Penrith counterpart Ivan Cleary, Newcastle boss Nathan Brown and St George Illawarra's Paul McGregor also backed the move.

But Bennett, the seven-time premiership-winning South Sydney coach, was by far the most vocal.

"It's definitely necessary and I can't believe we haven't done it in the past," Bennett said on Friday.

"Soccer's probably the biggest team sport in the world, and they've got a dog-eat-dog mentality with regards to players, who they want and who they don't want.

"But even they live by a trading window.

"You just can't pack up your bags one day and be at another club tomorrow. It's not a great look for us and not what we should ever entertain.

"A trading window is do-able and we should be getting it in as soon as we can."

Current rules allow contracted players to be moved before the June 30 deadline, which included the Rabbitohs' poaching of James Roberts from Brisbane in May.

Bennett admitted the decision wasn't a good look for the game, before taking aim at a particular rival club who allowed an exodus of players to leave.

Roberts was one of three players let go by the Broncos this year.

"We've done nothing wrong. We've played by the rules. The rules are it's open slather. June 30's your deadline," Bennett said.

"And we've benefited from that, but that doesn't make the game better.

"You look at one particular club, four or five of their players have left the place since the end of the last football season.

"That's the last thing you want if you're a fan, if you're going buying season tickets and you think, 'I'm going to see this team and these players play'.

"And all of a sudden they're not there anymore."

Brown said the game needed to make room for mid-season moves.

"Not only does it create interest, but it gives clubs and coaches a chance, if they have a problem area or they have an injury, to improve their squad and give themselves a shot at the back end of the year," he said.

"And it also gives players an opportunity that may be playing well but are stuck behind good players, to get to a club where they get to play first grade."

While year-round speculation is certain to remain, McGregor believes transfer windows would help with transparency.

"Everyone can be aware of what's happening and what's available instead of sneaking around and doing it, which is what most people do," he said.

"You won't stop everything, but obviously that'll help with being nice and open. I think that's a step in the right direction for sure."

Cleary said it would help coaches do their job more effectively.

"Personally prefer to be able to concentrate on my job when I at least know when the windows are coming up," he said.

"That has attractions for fans to really get involved and see it coming up, seeing how it all goes down. Without knowing all the details, I'm certainly a fan."