NRL to discuss poaching laws with coaches

Ivan Cleary's move from Wests Tigers to Penrith has prompted a rethink on NRL coaching movements.
Ivan Cleary's move from Wests Tigers to Penrith has prompted a rethink on NRL coaching movements.

The coaching merry-go-round may be slowing down, but the NRL wants to prevent a repeat by discussing rules to stamp out poaching with all 16 mentors next week.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg conceded the end-of-year musical chairs had made a "significant" impact and said new anti-poaching laws would be high on the agenda at the coaches' meeting, one of two held in Sydney each year.

Fans were fuming after Ivan Cleary joined Penrith despite having two years left to run on his Wests Tigers deal amid a spate of coaching changes.

Another big mover was South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold, who signed with Brisbane for 2020 and sparked speculation of a swap next year with Wayne Bennett.

New coaching guidelines were discussed at last week's CEOs meeting and it is believed the NRL will push for mentor signings to be policed the same way as players.

Under current NRL rules, players cannot be formally signed or registered until they move inside the final year of their existing contract starting on November 1.

It is believed coaches will be prevented from signing with another club more than a year before coming off contract under the proposed new anti-poaching rules.

"We were pretty open last week with our club CEOs about whether we put rules or not into our contractual terms of our coaches like we do with players," Greenberg said.

"Currently we don't do that. Based on the events of the last month or so it is probably worth looking at because the impact on players and fans is significant.

"But in saying that if you put rules in place you have to police them.

"We need to do some work on that. We will put a small group together and look at a report that will come back in the first quarter of next year."

It is believed the NRL are considering bans for coaches and heavy fines for clubs under the new anti-poaching laws.

"It is really important that we engage with the coaches, there is a coaches meeting next week - that will be key topic on the agenda," Greenberg said.

"It's always an interesting day with the 16 coaches. It is fair to say I get a bit of feedback at that meeting."

Australian Associated Press