5 days ago
Draft system is not the answer -
Brisbane CEO Bruno Cullen has warned rugby league would return to the "dim, dark ages" if club bosses accepted a proposed territorial draft at a meeting in Sydney today.
Chief executives of the 15 NRL clubs are set to consider the controversial plan at their monthly meeting, where they will also discuss in-house drug testing policies and the proposed national youth competition.
However, the territorial draft - which would involve clubs being allocated exclusive development areas - is the most contentious issue on the agenda.
Under the proposal, Brisbane's junior talent would be splintered and shared among rival NRL clubs, giving the Broncos' opponents first bite at some of the state's most promising players.
"The thing we don't agree with is the territorial splits," Cullen said.
"That's going back to the dim, dark ages. That's going back to the 1960s and `70s.
"People say the Broncos have all of Queensland. We haven't.
Where did Michael Crocker and Chris Flannery come from, and Rhys Wesser?"
Cullen said the Broncos were in favour of 90 per cent of the proposal, including limiting clubs to signing five 18-year-olds each year.
The NRL tonight said it was adopting a wait-and-see stance with the draft.
"We understand that there are clubs who support it and clubs that don't support it," NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said.
"Until we discuss it in more detail tomorrow it's very difficult to know what will happen."
Meanwhile, Manly coach Des Hasler and his senior players have given the NRL club the green light to extend the career of veteran centre Terry Hill.
Hasler held talks with Hill earlier today and left that meeting convinced the 33-year-old would be a worthy addition to his squad.
He also discussed Hill's potential signing with captain Michael Monaghan and senior players, receiving a thumbs-up from all concerned.
"A lot of people doubted he would be able to play at that level," Monaghan said.
"So far the signs are good. Right from early on he made sure he wasn't going to let himself down.
"He's done the hard work."
Hill has been in outstanding form for the Sea Eagles in the pre-season, culminating in his three-try performance against St George Illawarra at the weekend.
"The coach recommended that he would like to bring Terry into his squad," chief executive Paul Cummings said.
"He spoke with his coaching staff and they were extremely happy with the way Terry had performed, not just on the weekend but since November 1.
"Des (also) spoke to some senior players and our captain and they were quite ecstatic that Terry would be coming on board."
Cummings will hold talks with Hill's manager Wayne Beavis on Wednesday, where it's expected he will table an incentive-based deal for the former NSW and Australian centre.
"He (Hill) clearly understands the way we're looking at this and he's quite happy with that," Cummings said of the imminent contract.
Hill retired at the start of last season due to persistent injuries but returned to training with Manly late last year with a view towards reviving his NRL career.
It now seems certain he will add to the 230 games he has registered since making his debut with Souths in 1990.
The aggressive centre, who played 14 games for NSW and nine tests for Australia, also had stints at Easts (1991), Wests (1992-93), Manly (1994-99) and Wests Tigers (2000-03) before returning to Souths last season.
Cummings also revealed the club would up the ante in its search for a new chief executive by advertising the position on Friday.
Cummings has told the club he will stand down when the Sea Eagles find a suitable replacement.
Chairman Joe Cross has already received several expressions of interest for the position.
And Cronulla coach Stu Raper has revealed his club will enter the expected bidding war for Sonny Bill Williams if the Bulldogs star is on the market post-June 30.
Williams is off contract at the end of the season but is expected to re-sign with the premiers.
"He's the best prospect in the game, one of the best we've ever seen," Raper said.
"I hope he can keep his head on and stay injury-free.
"We'll put our hand up if he's available and we have the money so we'll have a dig.
"I'm realistic towards that. We'd be mad not to have a dabble at Sonny Bill."