National Rugby League Beefs Up Second Tier With 'Very Significant' $9.9M Injection
A funding injection of A$10.8M ($9.9M) by the National Rugby League into the "game's second tier will result in the return of two curtain-raisers before NRL matches" and confirmation of a "Super Bowl" "play-off on grand-final day" between the New South Wales Cup and Queensland Cup winners, according to Glenn Jackson of the CANBERRA TIMES. The landmark review into "rugby league's pathways has been signed off" by the Australian Rugby League Commission, and only needs the expected rubber-stamping by the Queensland Rugby League and NRL clubs "before being in place for next year." NRL COO Jim Doyle, who led the pathways review along with Head of Football Todd Greenberg, said, "This is very significant. This shows that we're very much looking at whole-of-game, and not just the 16 NRL clubs. There are 25 other teams now that are going to be part of the NRL system. It's a real significant step for us to put A$10.8 million into the competition at that level to enhance that competition, to raise the standards, whether it be facilities or medical standards. It's a real investment for the game, to show that we're wider than just the NRL." The "funding will be poured into the competitions over the next three years." Each club will receive A$100,000 a year, provided they "achieve certain criteria." The other "million dollars annually will be apportioned as decided by a newly formed State Cup group," which includes New South Wales Rugby League CEO David Trodden, QRL CEO Robert Moore and Greenberg (CANBERRA TIMES, 11/24).