McGregor Backs Interchange Rule For NSW Origin Game
St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor has given his backing to the increase in interchange to be used during the NSW Origin fixture at Scully Park Regional Sporting Precinct, Tamworth on Sunday.
The interchange will increase from eight to twelve for the representative fixture in a bid to alleviate the impact of a short turnaround on Players from four NRL Clubs.
NSW City Origin play NSW Country Origin on Sunday afternoon which means players in the match who also run on for the Dragons or Canberra Raiders in their Round 10 Game face a four day turnaround.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs and Parramatta Eels will play five days after the Representative Game.
The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) contacted the NRL ten days ago seeking assistance to address wellbeing concerns highlighted by Canberra Raiders Coach, Ricky Stuart.
“We appreciate Ricky raising the issue with us and we’d like to thank the NRL, Country Rugby League and NSW Rugby League for their support of the agreed measures to address Player wellbeing concerns,” said RLPA General Manager - Player Relations, Clint Newton.
“It’s a very tight schedule next week but hopefully the extra four interchanges will help to spread the load during the game and aid the Players’ rest and recovery."
NRL General Manager - Football Operations, Nathan McGuirk provided the following:
"Player wellbeing is certainly something we take very seriously,” said McGuirk.
“I’d like to thank the RLPA, the CRL and the NSWRL for their efforts through the consultation process to come up with an appropriate course of action.
"On top of the interchange measures, players will also have access to a charter flight from Tamworth to Sydney immediately after the match."
Newton has spoken with both Stuart and Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor who are both satisfied with what has been put in place.
"It is a great result for the players, their welfare needs to be the key priority and we are appreciative of the efforts of all involved to achieve this outcome," said McGregor.
"Our players have had a lot of travel in addition to the weekly workload so this is welcome news for them and everyone associated with the Dragons."
Five Raiders and three Dragons have been named for the representative game while two Rabbitohs and one Eels player have been selected.
The four teams also have players in the Pacific Tests being played at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta on Saturday but these are governed by international rules that allow 10 interchanges.