Passionate Newcastle fan Harry writes his first article for NRL News and casts his eye over the NRL season and asks the question, is the season too long? Is a shortened season the way to go? Do you agree?

The NRL has long been an organisation that has been criticised for being unable to make the tough decisions on the games future.

I can’t help but get the feeling that something needs to be done about the overall structure of the competition.
This argument normally comes up during State Of Origin but reared its head once more on the back of a successful Four Nations tournament which highlighted the importance of playing Rugby League on the international level.

All the critics lined up to write it off as a Mickey Mouse tournament which was nothing but a waste of time.

Everyone was reminded of how important the likes of a successful New Zealand team is to the growth of the sport while England were extremely unlucky to not appear in the final after two close losses to the Kiwis and Australia.

Samoa were well coached and played with unbridled enthusiasm which got them to within minutes of causing upset victories over England and New Zealand.

Samoa being this competitive was nothing more than a pipe dream a year ago.
They have given the NRL a compelling case to show that they should be playing Test matches on a regular basis and other nations like Fiji and Papua New Guinea should be nurtured also.

But where to fit all these international games in on the Rugby League calendar? How does the game look after its top stars?

It’s a simple answer for me. Reduce the NRL season.

The game wants to have the Auckland Nines and NRL All Stars on the calendar and they both serve a great purpose.
State Of Origin brings $100 million worth of revenue to the game so they aren’t willing to make drastic changes to the concept.

For me, reducing the NRL season by four weeks seems the logical option.
If the amount of club games was reduced to 20 instead of the current 24, it would allow the season to finish a month earlier allowing for Internationals to be played during September instead of mid-October and into November.

This would allow even the elite players to have a full month off before resuming pre-season training.
State Of Origin can remain in its current format or it can be moved to stand alone fixtures like the June internationals in Rugby Union.

Teams would have 10 home games and 10 away games and you can still allow room for two byes in a 22 week season.
If my provised 22 week NRL season was to come in during the 2015 season, it would look something like this.

January 31 – February 1 Auckland Nines
February 14 – NRL All Stars match
March 5 – May 24 Round One until 11 begins with all teams playing with no byes.
Australia vs New Zealand ANZAC test scheduled for early may would be moved to the end of the year.
May 27 Origin One
May 29 – June 7 rounds 12 and 13 allowing for byes to take place.
June 10 Origin Two
June 12 – June 21 rounds 14 and 15 allowing for byes to take place.
June 24 – Origin Three
June 26 – August 9 round 16 – round 22 with all teams active every weekend.
August 14 would be the start of the NRL finals series which would give us a Grand Final on Sunday the 6th of September.

The competition finishes a month earlier than 2014 which would then allow for International matches to be played.
This is just a draft model of how would like to see the NRL operate and believe it is perfectly viable.

By ricky

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