Broughto’s Blog
Mar 26

The Improbable Matrix

The Improbable Matrix. Law D of the 3rd of 4 Laws of Sustainable Coach Player Growth

Matrix: 18 team NRL schedule.

This paper does not assume that there will be consolidation, nor compression of any existing clubs. It is written purely as a discussion paper. It accepts that financial funding remains the Prime consideration. It also touches on my passionate belief about the Coaching of Coaches in the world of Development in order that our young can realise their rugby league dreams particularly in this nation’s 4 southern states and NT.


The Conference system has its Pros and Cons given that expansion by 1 team to 17 or 3 to 19 creates a mathematical improbability, however given that in 1996 there were 16 teams and now 25 plus years on there are still just 16, then perhaps we could agree that an 18 teams schedule may have some longevity in the future.

From 1996 to 2007 the ARL and Super League went from 16 to 22 then took licences away from 8 clubs reducing the competition to 14 then 15 in 2002 and finally 16 in 2007.  It has been static since that time. Those of us who were present still feel the pain in paying out some 280 players would wake up, for the first time in their whole lives, without the game.

The lesson learned from that experience is that if expansion becomes an agenda item then player participation numbers must increase annually by at least 3%. In addition the quality of Coaching of Coaches must be elevated with Units in the southern states and NT. Innovative structures will produce, not just fine coaches, but athletes who excel on the field of play and are great community examples of the modern games values. Quality coaching will take players to places they cannot take themselves,

18 team Schedule . West…..Central…..North                                                 

Melbourne Storm South Sydney Rabbitohs Brisbane Broncos
Canberra Raiders Canterbury Bulldogs Nth Qld Cowboys
Penrith Panthers Sydney Roosters Gold Coast Titans
Wests Tigers Manly Sea Eagles NZ Warriors
Parramatta Eels Cronulla Sharks Newcastle Knights
TBA St George Illawarra Saints TBA

Competition schedule

  • Rounds 1 to 17.

Each team will play each other once.

  • Rounds 18 through 22

Each team will play in its Conference against traditional adversaries that history created and for many clubs these are the money games.

Home and away is preserved as during the regular season if say the Bronco play Cowboys Away when they met in the Regular season draw then the conference game will be at home. The schedule means 11 home 11 away, no byes except for Origin.

The above is an option but the NRL Matrix is built around scheduling and the process is challenging for the schedulers as there may well be no such thing as a perfect schedule. The NRL does not allow flexing (moving start times) so the NRL schedule makers must consistently provide the fans and broadcast partners with a compelling and entertaining slate of games week after week.

16 Team Matrix

This also is a discussion paper as the present draw meets with general approval.

The NFL actually does not get to play against 16 of its clubs even once during a season.

Sixteen Team Schedule using Conference are not as effective but are an option. Round 1 to 15 regular schedule, then to Conference with alternative to away or home in Rounds I to 15, Compete the 7 games within Conference. Total 22 Games 11 Home 11 Away The option for 16 teams is 2 Conferences with 8 teams in each and then 2 Divisions of 4 in each Conference

However because the networks or perhaps NRL are not flexing this is not an option. The NRL recognises the attendees as vital and that’s commendable

Storm Broncos
Raiders Warriors
St George Illawarra Cowboys
Rabbitohs Titans
Roosters Knights
Bulldogs Sea Eagles
Panthers Sharks
Eels Tigers

Of course this is a discussion paper and we are all influenced by our association with the games clubs and our loyalties remain irrespective of scheduling. However I see the time when eventually the Sydney Clubs must convene a Boundaries Board and revisit and if considered necessary even reclassify boundaries to meet the huge Demographic changes that have occurred in the last 20 years in Sydney.

In the end, no matter what your name

I will make you a better human

And you will make me a better game.

Broughto 25/03/19. We can all have our  Law it just must be one that contributes to all in the long and short term

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