NRL Press Conference
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys speaks to the media during a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central on September 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The NRL is set to officially move to a 17 team competition from 2023.

While NRL bosses are yet to make an official announcement, reports have surfaced suggesting the long-rumoured decision has been ticked off.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the NRL and its clubs had a fiery meeting on Thursday afternoon to confirm the news.

It has previously been revealed that the NRL doesn't need the express approval of the other clubs to expand the competition, however, it's understood the preference of NRL CEO Andrew Abdo and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'Landys was to have them on board.

The clubs were reportedly concerned about a 17th team eroding their own financial support from the NRL. However, it has been revealed that a deal between Foxtel and the NRL will bankroll the franchise, potentially allowing expanded grants to the remaining clubs each year for at least the next five years.

This will bring in extra revenue in the form of 12 extra games per season, while it was also revealed that the Brisbane Broncos may have a decrease in free to air games thanks to the new Queensland franchise.

A new collective bargaining agreement between the players, clubs and NRL is also due to be signed before kick-off in the 2023 season, with negotiations to start over the summer.

The Sydney Morning Herald suggest the NRL turned a $50 million profit in 2021, although that would have been more without the COVID-enforced relocation, and it has left the clubs wanting a bigger slice of the pie.

The NRL had reportedly put an October timeline on the official announcement, with the club able to actively recruit players from November 1 alongside the 16 other clubs, with players off-contract at the end of 2022 allowed to negotiate from that date.

It's understood the NRL will confirm expansion first before selecting the winning club, however, the Redcliffe Dolphins are believed to be well ahead of the Brisbane Jets and Brisbane Firehawks, with a committee currently in the process of weighing up all three bids.