Roosters boss demands ladder reset
THE NRL's most influential official, billionaire Roosters boss Nick Politis, is demanding the season be restarted on May 28 with all 16 clubs on zero points to protect the integrity of the competition.
In a rare public outburst as the Roosters attempt to become the first side in 37 years to win a treble of premierships, Politis says the competition will become "meaningless" if it resumes over 13 games.
"If you change the draw, you've got to start again," he said. "If the current points are to stand, we have to play over a full season."
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It is estimated clubs will need a minimum 16 points to make the top eight under a 15-round competition format or 22 points to make the top four.
"It's like changing the race from a Melbourne Cup (two miles) to a Doncaster (one mile) after it's already started," Politis said.
"It becomes meaningless and makes it almost mathematically impossible for the bottom sides to make the top four.
"We have been preparing all along for a 24-round season. That's why we rested Boyd Cordner for the first two games."
Politis insists the NRL should play out the full season into November if the premiership table is to stay as is.
"This isn't just about the Roosters," he said. "It's about the integrity of the competition and giving every club and their fans a fair chance."
The NRL is still undecided about a schedule for the resumption of the competition.
There is still talk of two conferences, playing each other twice, or another 13 more rounds to allow each club to play each other once. Now there are suggestions of adding rivalry rounds to stretch the season out.
The New Zealand Warriors and the Cronulla Sharks are supporting Politis.
Warriors CEO Cameron George said: "The landscape of the competition has changed dramatically.
"If we're sitting here now with 22 rounds to go, the chances of making the top four, top six or top eight are far more achievable than trying to do it with 13 games left.
"Are they going to change the draw? That in itself makes it a new competition."
Sharks boss Dino Mezzatesta says the same thing.
"We've played finals football for the last five years," he said. "It would be devastating for our fans to miss out this year because it's a shortened season.
"We lost really close games to Souths and Storm but showed enough to think we could make the finals again. Under the new format, it makes it so much harder."
The New Zealand Warriors are already at a disadvantage of having to move from their homes and families in New Zealand to set up a permanent base in Sydney.
They also had to give up a home game to play the Canberra Raiders on the Gold Coast.
Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill declined to get involved.
"Once we know the competition structure, we can have the debate," he said. "There are various models ranging from a seven-game season to 15 games."
Undefeated Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is ready for a fight to keep his competition points.
"I promise you I would fight this for my players, our sponsors and every single Raiders fan," he said.
"I'm positive Trent Robinson, who is on the innovations committee, understands how hard players work in preparation for the start of the season - and deserve their results."
There has been much talk of club bias on the Apollo innovation committee.
While Robinson and Wayne Bennett are there, so too is Raiders boss Don Furner and Wayne Pearce, whose son Mitchell is undefeated this year at the Knights.