NRL Rd 5 - Eels v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Matt Burton of the Panthers is tackled during the round five NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Penrith Panthers at Bankwest Stadium on June 12, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The NRL have pushed the deadline for the 2021 transfer period to August 1 following ongoing discussions between the Players Association and the league in regards to the latest collective bargaining agreement, per The Daily Telegraph

The new deadline will fall on the final matchday of Round 20, meaning finals-contending clubs could sign rival players in the final month of the home-and-away season to increase their bid for the premiership.

The move would also allow sides to sign high price-tag figures on a cut price given they would only require a salary for the final few weeks of the season and finals in an increase of short term deals.

For example, in-demand free agent Cameron Smith could sit out of the season until the end of July before signing on the cheap for a finals favourite and potentially having a major impact on the premiership outcome.

It could also see clubs on the fringe of the top-eight look to dramatically alter their lineup in order to hit a strong run home and hopefully book their place in the post-season fixture.

An unnamed player agent told The Telegraph they believes the new deadline has plenty of upside for both players and clubs.

“It’s a win for the clubs and players. They could lose a key player in July for the rest of the season with an injury but still find a replacement," they said.

“This will cause a huge amount of player movement late in the season.

“The longer the clubs wait the cheaper the players become because you’re only paying them for a couple of months.

“Patience will be the key. There is no point rushing out to fill your 30-man rosters and spending all your money.”

The Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Raiders and Warriors are the only clubs to have filled their 30-man quota for 2021, with Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler believing the aforementioned quartet could be at a disadvantage.

“Under the new system it makes sense to keep space until much later in the year as a safeguard for injuries,” he said.