The Sydney Roosters have expressed their unhappiness with the 2023 NRL draw, claiming that the annual schedule is put together with too much influence from broadcasters.
Tri-colour chairman Nick Politis has maintained his belief that certain clubs are repeatedly drawn into ‘blockbuster' games, regularly scheduled because they're good for ratings.
“Please don't call it a draw. Can we get it right? It's a TV schedule,” Politis said, via the Daily Telegraph.
The Roosters will have to face four of last year's top five sides twice in the draw, and the perceived imbalance has led Politis to claim that “the AFL have got control over their draw but we roll over to the networks.”
Politis has also called for the NRL to re-examine the infrequently-suggested conference system, akin to that used in the American NFL.
The Roosters maestro also claimed that the current imbalances in the draw were creating a false perception of an equal competition.
“Some clubs are lucky that they play the bottom-eight teams twice and the top teams only once,” Politis said.
“You look at the table and you say ‘gee, what a great competition' because it's so close – but it's manufactured by a TV schedule.
“They need to do something. There are all sorts of models.”
Season 2023 - @sydneyroosters 🐓
More: https://t.co/AS7PmmIMI6 pic.twitter.com/BDKVLRYqGE
— NRL (@NRL) November 10, 2022
South Sydney Rabbitohs boss Blake Solly was more pragmatic in his assessment of the schedule, despite the fact his team have been handed one of the ‘hardest' fixture lists.
“We have a lot of travel, particularly in the back half of the season,” Rabbitohs chief Blake Solly said.
“But in the context of the FIFA Women's World Cup and all of the stadiums in Sydney that are unavailable, that is expected.
“We've had to put our three regional home games in that six-week period, so largely the travel through the back half of the season was unavoidable.
“It won't have been an easy process from the NRL with the addition of the 17th team and those stadiums are out of action. But from our point of view, we're excited by a lot of the match-ups.”