Recently hired Dolphins head coach Wayne Bennett has called on the game's governing body to implement a draft system so as to even the talent pool throughout the NRL.
The 71-year-old's open stance on employing the equalisation system comes in the wake of a season in which blowout scores were the norm on a weekly basis.
While the measure for plucking junior talent has been used by a vast majority of sporting codes around the world, there has long been a reticence to do so in rugby league circles.
Still, with Bennett and his recruiting staff now tasked with filling a The Dolphins' roster of 30-names from scratch, the seven-time premiership coach claimed that now was the perfect opportunity to recommence talks about a draft.
“I am a fan of the draft because it’s another way of levelling the competition up and the fans deserve that,” Bennett was quoted by The Daily Telegraph.
“The current system is just not right. It has to change.
“We are the only sport in the world that operates with a salary cap but no draft. They have to go hand-in-hand.
“The fans don’t deserve what they have copped over the last decade or so."
As blunt as he is competitive, Bennett explained that the NRL's unique, and potentially flawed, means of player transactions were continuing to hold the game back.
“Players just leaving clubs mid-season and all this rubbish ... pulling up stumps midway through the year and they go and play for another club," he continued.
“The NRL has to start making a move now. It will clean up a lot of the things in the game in regards to player movement.
“If the discussion for a draft is back on the table, I’m happy.”
While criticising without a resolution can often be people's modus operandi, the former Canberra, Brisbane, St George Illawarra, Newcastle, and Souths boss was more than happy to outlay his manifesto.
“I would see three things happening,” Bennett recommenced.
“I would see a rookie draft, I would see a state league draft and then there are those players already in the NRL who are seeking releases or being cut, so I’d see a draft for them as well."
The cop-come-career coach then explained that unlike the AFL until recent seasons, the NRL could hold these events at different times of each season.
“You could have the drafts at different stages of the year," Bennett explained.
“The NRL player draft might be in October before pre-season, but whatever the timing, we need a system that governs how players get into the NRL, and once players are in the NRL, how do they move clubs?”
Although opposition to the draft has been vocal across the past three decades, Bennett was also fervently against the notion that the system would mean players would be forced to run out for clubs against their will.
“Stop it. That’s bloody rubbish," he said with an acid tongue.
“That is the greatest load of crap I’ve ever heard.
“That’s the easy line the anti-draft people can throw at this argument."
Bennett also stated that recent market trends proved that players were still able to move whenever they saw fit - a fact that would remain irrespective of a draft.
“These guys pack their bags all the time and relocate," the 24-time Queensland steward said.
“Tom Dearden left the Broncos midway through this season and moved to Townsville (to play for the Cowboys) in a few days. He was a 20-year-old kid.
“Tevita Pangai went to the Panthers (from the Broncos). Did he have any trouble going to another club?"
Bennett continued by claiming that a large portion of the worries about the socialistic mechanism would come from money-hungry player managers - a collective that he has long been at odds with.
“The only people who will whinge about the draft are the player managers because it will restrict them and the deals they can do to move players around," he said.
“Player managers would not be able to manipulate the draft system.
“Under the draft, the best kids will get shared around the clubs.
“I believe it would equalise the competition. It would certainly help."
While the man at his sixth post within the competition appears to have put his foot down, he was also quick to claim that while the draft would benefit struggling sides, it couldn't be expected to solve all of their woes.
“The biggest thing about any team is its management. If you have poor management, you are in trouble, it doesn’t matter if you have drafts or have the best players," Bennett expounded.
“If you are a well-managed club, the draft is not something clubs should fear, but it will prevent the best players always being picked up by the best clubs."
Bennett then signed off by waxing philosophically about the measures on a whole before reiterating that if the game was to grow, it would have to look beyond its own backyard.
“We need to look at the benefits to the game, we want better contests between talent that is distributed better. It can work for us," he said in finality.
“There is a lot to happen with the draft and it can’t happen overnight. A lot of discussions have to be held with the NRL and the players association, but it needs to happen.
“If it’s about you, and being selfish, the draft won’t work. But if you care about the game, the draft can work in the NRL.
“They do it in all the American sports. It’s the best way for a sport to thrive and survive.”