Buzz’s radical NRL relegation idea slammed as Kent fires up over ‘dumb’ proposal
The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield has proposed the NRL should adopt a promotion and relegation system.
Rothfield explained in an article predicting the 2022 ladder that the NRL should take a leaf out of European soccer’s book.
As it stands, the Knights, Bulldogs, Tigers, Warriors and Titans are struggling at the bottom of the ladder and would be at risk of being relegated, with the winner of the NSW Cup and Queensland Cup finding themselves in the nationwide competition.
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Rothfield explained those five teams are merely “making up the numbers” and a relegation system would spark crowd interest as fans desperately hope their beloved club aren’t sent packing.
But, NRL360 co-host Paul Kent has slammed the idea, explaining there are wider implications than just increased interest at the back-end of the season.
“Dumbest thing I have ever heard,” Kent said as Rothfield shipped the idea on NRL360.
“Have you seen European soccer? Have you seen the back-end of the season? The crowds they get to bottom four games, have you seen it and how exciting it is and how well it rates?” Rothfield asked.
“Have you seen where the Titans, Warriors, Wests Tigers, Bulldogs and Knights are right now? No one cares the last month with those clubs.”
Kent explained how difficult it would be for newly promoted clubs to build an NRL-worthy roster in a short period of time.
The Dolphins, the NRL’s newest franchise, have had eight months so far to build their roster and have been unable to secure a marquee recruit.
“So let me just paint a picture for you, it is promotion and relegation time, whoever comes last this year gets relegated, who comes up, say Wynnum Manly with the Queensland comp,” Kent said.
“How are Wynnum Manly when they win the comp, with a salary cap to work with now, then only find out in September once they have won the comp, supposed to assemble a squad by November to kick off.
“We have seen the troubles the Dolphins are having getting a squad together.”
“What I’d like to say, to work on the finer detail of how it would work would take longer than the couple of minutes we have got here,” Rothfield said.
Kent also explained that attempting to compare the NRL with European competitions such as the English Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga is not plausible.
Australia’s elite rugby league competition has a salary cap, while the top soccer leagues around the world can spend as much as they please to secure top talent.
“European soccer has no salary cap, so they can just go out and buy whoever they want,” Kent said.
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“Buzz it won’t work, it is impossible,” The Daily Telegraph’s Brent Read said.
“I want to put interest into the games at the end of the year, you are saying it is not possible because it has happened since 1908, get modern,” Rothfield said.
“Where abouts around the world do you get these players, Chelsea can go to the La Liga,” Kent said.
“Bring in a rule that the team that gets relegated, the new side gets a crack at half a dozen players,” Rothfield said.
“They have just run last, what about what their players are doing?” Kent said.
“They have just run last, what are you missing?”
“I’ll see you at the stadium when the Cowboys are playing the Titans in Round 23 and there is 200 people at the stadium,” Rothfield said.
Across Europe’s top soccer competitions, a small number of teams traditionally dominate the league.
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In the Bundesliga, a team outside of Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich hasn’t won since 2009.
In the Premier League, since the 2004-05 season only Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and the one-season wonders Leicester City have won the competition.
You also have to look back to 2003 to find a La Liga winner outside of Red Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
In the Ligue 1, eight of the past ten competitions have been won by Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, in the NRL since 2004 11 different clubs have won the premiership.
“Let me also point this out to you about the NRL competition, right now there is four or five teams that can win the comp, that is a third of the competition, there is not an English, Spanish, Italian competition where a third of the competition are realistic chances to win the competition,” Kent said.
But Rothfield countered the argument, explaining those competitions are ‘first past the post’ meaning the minor premiers are handed the championship.
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“They don’t have a finals series involving four or five teams, they have competition at the top-end of the table to make the Champions League and at the bottom,” Rothfield said.
“I think the NRL does a brilliant job of being an even competition, I think we do need to start bringing in some ideas to start helping the bottom teams draft their way to the top of the ladder so they can get there quicker rather than having to spend five years developing juniors,” Kent said.
“I also think if the NRL was more fair dinkum about the salary cap and it was actually legally implemented and teams weren’t cheating, I think you’d get much more turnaround of the top teams against the bottom teams.”