R L Winger Posted April 29, 2021 Share Posted April 29, 2021 A secret dossier given to NRL clubs has revealed the bombshell plan to revolutionise the game. The NRL has taken a huge step forward in it plans to split the competition into two conferences as part of its expansion plans for the 2023 season. The league has previously flirted with the concept of a divided competition, but it emerged on Tuesday night the league is more serious than ever about the plan to turn the competition on its head. NRL CEO Andrew Abdo last month put the 18-team conference system on the table for public discussion and it was reported Tuesday the plan has advanced to the stage of discussions with the 16 NRL clubs. He also claimed the New Zealand market was the perfect destination for an 18th club. The second Kiwi team would join a 17th team from Brisbane, which is on track to be introduced for the start of the 2023 season — when the NRL’s new TV rights deal would begin. The leading contenders to become the NRL’s 17th team are the Redcliffe Dolphins, who have lodged a Brisbane Dolphins trademark, the Brisbane Jets — a coalition of the Brisbane Bombers and Ipswich Jets — and the Easts Tigers-backed Brisbane Firehawks Andrew Abdo and Peter V’landys have been meeting with clubs. Channel 7 reported Tuesday night the NRL executives have been handing the clubs a secret dossier with the details of the proposed 18-team competition that would divide the league into two conferences made up of nine teams. Bennett last month went public with his support of the concept “I think they should play in conferences, I’ve always argued for conferences,” Bennett said. “I think Sydney do themselves a great disservice by not playing each other on a regular basis home-and-away because that’s what the fans want in Sydney. “(Sydney fans) embrace the national league but they also embrace the club rivalry and unless you’re living in Sydney you don’t realise how strong it is,” Bennett said. “It’s what people outside of Sydney don’t get about Sydney is the genuine rivalry between the clubs here. The two conference system would include a Sydney-based conference and a conference made up of the teams outside Sydney. The proposal includes the nine clubs in each conference playing each other twice, and playing the clubs in the other conference once — expanding the season to a 25-game home-and-away competition. It will also result in an overhaul of the finals system with the proposal outlining plans to have the best four teams from each conference qualify for the finals. The two conferences would then have separate finals systems before the best club from each conference clash for the NRL Grand Final. It comes after the NRL last year flirted with the idea of breaking the competition into two conferences as part of the plan to re-start the season following the COVID-19 season shutdown. The NRL in 2019 also investigated a proposal to expand the finals system with a wildcard weekend that would see teams from 7th to 10th play off for a chance to secure a spot in the top eight. The proposal was designed to eliminate the number of games played that had no impact on the make-up of the finals. How the NRL conferences would look Sydney conference: Roosters, Rabbitohs, Eels, Bulldogs, Tigers, Panthers, Dragons, Sharks, Sea Eagles Expansion conference: Broncos, Titans, Cowboys, Storm, Warriors, Knights, Raiders, second Brisbane franchise, second New Zealand franchise How the season would work: The nine teams from each conference play each other twice (16 games) and each team from the other conference once (nine games) How the finals system would work Each conference would have a top four group of teams that qualify for the finals. The finals would then unfold as separate competitions in an elimination format that would begin with 1vs4 and 2vs3. The winners of each conference would then play for the NRL grand final. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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