Changes to NRL transfer system put backflips on table

Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Players will be permitted to backflip on moves to rival clubs if their current team can convince them to stay within 10 days in a groundbreaking change to the NRL transfer system.

Previously, players could sign with rivals from the November before the final year of their contract and would theoretically not need to inform their current club until the deal had been inked.

But documents seen by AAP have detailed a "last right of negotiation" clause implemented to the transfer system as part of the recently brokered collective bargaining agreement.

It means even if a formal offer has been tabled by another club, no player can leave their current team for an NRL rival without giving them notice they have received an offer that they intend to accept.

The current club can then enter negotiations with that player for up to 10 days and launch a last-ditch bid to keep them in-house. If they are happy to lose the player, the club can waive the right to do so.

The player is not required to disclose the financial terms of the rival club's offer as part of the negotiations, nor are they compelled to accept the current club's offer if it matches the rival's.

After 10 days, the player is able to sign with the rival club as originally intended if the current club does not convince them to stay put. Only then will the new contract be registered by the NRL.

The change could affect such stars as Jarome Luai, Bradman Best, Jai Arrow and Moeaki Fotuaika, all of whom come off contract in 2024 and can field offers from rival clubs in a matter of weeks.

The changes could prompt similar backflips to that of Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans, who famously reneged on a handshake agreement to a big-money move to Gold Coast in 2015.

He instead re-signed with the Sea Eagles long-term and will finish his career there, much to the chagrin of Titans fans ever since.