NSW v QLD - State of Origin Game 2
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: Lindsay Collins of the Maroons looks dejected after the try to Daniel Tupou of the Blues during game two of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium, on June 26, 2022, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

With some of the NRL’s best players aiming to represent their clubs within 48 hours of one of the most brutal State of Origin contests of all time, The Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie reports that the RLPA has approached the NRL about a blanket ban on players being asked to back-up after Origin.

With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) due to be implemented next season, RLPA Chief Executive Clint Newton hopes to have a mandatory stand-down rule added to the terms.

“Nowhere in the world in any code of this kind, where it’s high-speed, high-collision, would we see athletes back up within 48 hours of a match,” Newton told the Telegraph.

“This is the players’ workplace. Would we expect Makybe Diva to back up in a second Melbourne Cup two days later?

“We don’t allow truck drivers to work for long hours. We have a duty of care to the players.

“After Wednesday’s match, not one person (would disagree) that was one of the most demanding and physical games of rugby league that anyone would have seen.

“It was a classic example of why it’s essential to ensure the players are given appropriate time to rest and recover. I’d suggest standing down players from club duties post-Origin is absolutely on the agenda through the CBA.

“Fans want to make sure the best players are playing in the big matches. The risk (of players missing out) considerably increases if we’re not putting protections in place to look after them.

“Sometimes you have to protect them from themselves because (backing up) has been worn as a badge of honour. You don’t want a situation… where a player feels obligated to back up when they know they’re not in the best position to do so.”

While Penrith have already decided to rest their Origin players for this week’s clash against Wests Tigers, they’re six points clear at the top of the table. As competition for other spots in the post-season heats up, not every team and player will feel they have that freedom.

“Workers have restrictions on their ability to do double-shifts and overtime because they’ll do it if given the chance.

“But like any workplace, the duty of care doesn’t fall at the feet of the employee. It’s up to those looking after them – and that’s all of us – to take responsibility.


  1. If the NRL will not sanction send-offs and gives derisory fines for fighting, then it is unlikely that they will take seriously their duty of care. I think that the Players Association is the only body that can influence them.

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