SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys and National Rugby League Acting Chief Executive Andrew Abdo arrive a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central on September 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The NRL are reportedly considering overhauling their off-season drug testing policy as part of the next collective bargaining agreement.

The agreement is due to be signed ahead of the 2023 season, the same time frame the NRL will add a 17th franchise to the competition.

Expansion is due to be announced in the coming weeks, with the Redcliffe Dolphins reportedly well ahead of the Brisbane Jets and Brisbane Firehawks as the preferred candidate.

The change of team numbers means revenue will be split differently, and as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the NRL are looking to include off-season drug testing according to a The Sydney Morning Herald report.

This will need clearance with the Rugby League Players Association, however, it may come as unsurprising that the NRL are reportedly looking to move in this direction given a disastrous fortnight off the field.

All of Reece Walsh, Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis have already been sanctioned by the NRL, while Ofahiki Ogden also allegedly was involved in a drug-related incident on grand final day.

The NRL have been slammed for the lightness of the penalties, as well as the revelation that off-season testing is not permitted.

It's understood the NRL would, as a result of off-season testing being brought in, scale back sanctions for illicit drug use. It would see players warned for a first strike, banned for 12 matches for the second and deregistered for a third strike.

It's understood the approach is viewed as having more impact than greater fines or suspensions.

Negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement are expected to begin over the off-season.

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