Winless NRL coaches enter ladder reset debate
All 16 NRL coaches have agreed to resume the 2020 season where it stopped, with even those still winless voting to have any competition points earned already this year remain in place.
In a strong show of unity from the newly-formed Rugby League Coaches Association, The Daily Telegraph can reveal unanimous support for resuming the NRL competition with nobody stripped of points.
The move follows weeks of debate which was revived again Sunday, with Kangaroo coach Mal Meninga suggesting that when the game eventually restarts he would be in favour of everyone returning with a clean slate.
Meninga is employed by the Gold Coast Titans, who are yet to win a game, but stressed there was a bigger picture to consider, particularly if the Project Apollo committee adopted a conference system.
While ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has already insisted the points will stand, debates have continued across League Land about stripping points, stripping points differentials, or even having those points already earned being given less value if the season is shortened.
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One example involves halving points compiled over the first two weeks, so that teams on four points would have two, and those on two points would go to one.
Teams on zero would obviously not change, thus lessening the impact of points earned before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shutdown.
However RLCA boss Kelly Egan said that during a recent video hook-up between his members, there was "universal" agreement to resume the season with the competition points already earned staying.
This included those who have yet to win a game, including Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson, St George Illawarra's Paul McGregor and Stephen Kearney of the Warriors.
"We had a good conversation about points, for and against, everything," Egan said.
"And it was agreed that whatever points you've got, that's it.
"Just restart from there because that's the fairest way.
"As a group, our biggest consideration was that the Warriors were going to be part of the competition and needed to be managed in that respect.
"But as for the competition table, it was agreed the simpler things are kept the better.
"That way when the competition does restart, everybody already knows what it looks like.
"If you've won two games, you've won two games."
Despite having been in operation since only February, the RLCA shapes as a valuable resource for the Project Apollo committee given the vast rugby league knowledge and experience among members like Wayne Bennett, Craig Bellamy, Trent Robinson, Ricky Stuart and Des Hasler.
Asked if the coaches had a preferred model for how the 2020 season was shaped, Egan continued: "We want to be respectful of the broadcasters given they are the people paying for the product.
"So we're considerate of what they might want to do, and how the season might look.
"Obviously discussions are ongoing with a lot of decisions to revolve around the logistics of player wellbeing.
"Safety is always the ultimate goal."
And as for how long the season goes?
"One thing that has been discussed is that we don't really want to go so deep into this year that it then impacts on the pre-season and preparations for 2021," he said.
"The pre-season is really important to ensure the standard of the NRL remains where everyone wants it to be.
"But we're all keen to get the season up and running."
Originally published as Winless NRL coaches enter ladder reset debate