Petero Civoniceva

He is a man that does keep relatively quiet, but when he talks, people listen – and for retiring Broncos prop Petero Civoniceva, who is the General President of the Rugby League Players Association, he wants to find a solution to player fatigue and drain from the State of Origin, due to what he says, is ‘robbing fans of high-quality football’.

Although nothing will be finalised until the NRL’s new TV deal is announced, Petero said that he wants to meet with the ARLC Commission Chief in John Grant, to discuss the reworking of the Origin schedule as we know it.

For Petero, this is not based on the recent inconsistent form of the Brisbane Broncos, his club side – but to reduce the intensity on players involved in Origin, resulting in heavy fatigue, and missing games for their club sides.

“We are hopeful that with the commission settled and the broadcast rights deal done, players and officials can sit down together and find common ground,” Civoniceva said.

“With Origin, the intensity goes up every year and that affects the standard of play (in NRL games).

We want to give the players extra rest coming out of Origin.”

With the draw for the following season generally released in November, the TV rights deal is expected to be finalised in September.

“As a playing group we don’t want to be demanding the commission does this and that,” Civoniceva said.

“John Grant has been fantastic to the playing group so far and he’s been happy to hear our thoughts.

“I’m hopeful that if we all sit down together we can come up with a really good solution that will factor in extra recovery so the players can take the field at a level which produces really good football.”

Player burnout is something that is evident in the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos side, with a large chunk of the Queensland team, coming from those two sides – resulting in an injury to Billy Slater, as well as poor records of late in the NRL for both teams.

“Stand alone weekends is one of the ideas put forward,” he said.

“You look at all the players who took part in Origin … there’s a correlation there (to below-par NRL form).
“For me, it felt like Origin went up another notch this year.

“The fans are the most important part of this.

“We want to make sure we are playing awesome football all the way through the year.”

By ricky

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