NRL Changes Team Announcement Process

18th February 2017

Thw NRL have implemented a change on how coaches announce their team lists each week in bid to reduce the risk of inside information being traded for gambling. All 16 clubs were informed on Saturday of the NRL’s team list new rules which states, that they must name a 21-man squad every Tuesday of the upcoming 2017 season. Coaches were informed that unlike previous seasons, they will no longer be allowed to use any player who isn’t named within the original 21-man squad, unless a special exemption is granted by the NRL. The 21-man squad will consist of 17 players named in position, as well as up to four interchange reserves.

In 2017, and the 16 NRL clubs will announce squads of 21 players at 4.00pm on Tuesdays, with 19-man squads named 24 hours prior to kick-off for every match.

The team lists process was reviewed in the off-season with a goal to recommend the optimal future system for NRL matches. The aim was to improve the accuracy of player information, including correct positional data, and to limit any potential integrity risk to the game through an improved team announcement procedure.

Every Tuesday at 4.00pm Sydney time, and each club will announce a 21-man squad consisting of 17 "Active" players named in position, with a maximum of four additional players named as "Reserves". (The Warriors squad will be released at 3.00pm Sydney time [5.00pm Auckland time] on Tuesdays.) Then 24 hours before each game kicks off a 19-man squad, only from players included in the initial 21-man squad, is selected with 17 "Active" players named in position and a maximum of two additional players named as "Reserves". For example:

  • Wednesday 8.00pm announcement for teams playing at 8.00pm on Thursday
  • Thursday 8.00pm announcement for teams playing at 8.00pm on Friday
  • Friday 7.30pm announcement for teams playing at 7.30pm on Saturday
  • Saturday 4.00pm announcement for teams playing at 4.00pm on Sunday

    Then one hour prior to kick-off a final team of 17 active players is confirmed, only selected from players included in the 19-man squad.

    Clubs wanting to bring in a player from outside the 21-man squad or the 19-man squad after they have been announced must apply for an exemption which will be evaluated by the NRL's Head of Football on a case-by-case basis.

    This may include bringing in a player from outside the squad if someone in a specialist position such as halfback was injured at training and there was no logical replacement among the reserves.

    The NRL hopes the changes will limit the common practice of coaches naming ‘bogus’ teams, including the deliberate ploy of not naming a star player ahead of their comeback from injury or so too, the debut of a rising star. But overwhelmingly, the NRL’s motivation to limit the opportunity for people both in and outside the game profiting from inside information, is the cause for change.

    “The late inclusion of a star player can dramatically affect a team’s chances and market odds of that team,” NRL Integrity Unit boss Nick Weeks said. “We don’t see this as a major problem in the game at present but we want to reduce the likelihood betting stings based on inside information.” The team-list shake-up will also draw much interest from fans as well as SuperCoach and Fantasy football players, who are impacted by wholesale team changes shortly before kick-off. “That is something that frustrates fans and the new system should go a long way to eliminating the practice,” NRL head of football Brian Canavan said. “There is enormous interests in team lists … Tuesday is easily the busiest day on the website because fans want to know who is in and out of their team.”

    Canavan added that an exemption did exist within team-list overhaul for clubs to name additional players in their Tuesday squad announcement in circumstances where three or more of their players are selected in a State of Origin match.

    Lower Grades

  • Players named as "Reserves" on Tuesday will still be able to be named in the starting sides of NYC and NSW/QLD Cup
  • Any players included in the 19-man squad will be deemed ineligible for selection in the final 17-man squad if they play in a NSW/QLD Cup match prior to the NRL match
  • In each squad announcement, coaches are to endeavour to name teams with players in correct positions

    NYC team lists will follow the same process, but their squad sizes at the three announcements are 23, 20 and 17 players.