General NRL To Scrap Holden Cup?


Thread title says it all. From a New Zealand perspective I hope they don't scrap it. Think the Kiwis have benefited immensely from the Holden cup with greater depth available.

The under-20s competition is set to be scrapped at the end of next season
JUNE 07, 2015 12:00AM

A Holden Cup match between the Cowboys and the Warriors in Townsville. Picture: Wesley Monts

THE under-20s National Youth League Holden Cup competition could be scrapped at the end of next season with it’s future to be discussed at a meeting of club chief executives next week.

The financial stress and weekly logistic strain on clubs, coupled with what value it is worth to Holden Cup broadcaster Fox Sports ahead of a new TV broadcast deal in 2017 has created serious discussion among NRL powerbrokers that the 20s competition is on borrowed time.

All 16 NRL chief executives will meet on Thursday at Sydney Olympic Park where the agenda will be led by NRL chief executive Dave Smith.


Club CEO’s will meet with Dave Smith next week.


The Sunday Telegraph has been told the future of the under-20s competition will feature as a point of discussion with a 28 per cent decline in TV viewers between 2014 and 2015.

Average audiences have been 18,800 this Holden Cup season.

Introduced in 2008, the Holden Cup competition was originally named the Toyota Cup.

It was heralded as an opportunity for young footballers to gain exposure on a far greater level and a vital tool in talent adjusting to the demands of professional football.

Current NRL stars Gareth Widdop, Trent Merrin, Ben Barba, Jake Friend, Chris Sandow, Wade Graham and Tim Mannah all featured in the inaugural Toyota Cup season.

The competition consists of teams from all 16 clubs that participate in the NRL competition, fielding squads made up of players between the ages of 17 and 19.

The draw and structure mirrors the NRL competition which leaves every club, the majority of which fight tooth and nail for funding, working under a salary cap of $250,000 for a squad of 25 players.

Extra costs associated with the salaries for coaching staff, strength and conditioning coaches, medical staff and travel and accommodation are the issues which will be aired by the majority of clubs.

There is also a much more serious issue of; the pressure and expectation on the game’s next generation of footballers played a role in the tragic suicide of several Holden Cup players?

One proposal is that the under-20s competition return under the banner of a statewide competition, which would be run by the NSWRL and QRL.

“The clubs aren’t massive fans of it,’’ one well-placed club official said.

“It’s a big expense and I don’t know how much value Fox is getting out of it.

“I think there would be broad support to push the 20s back into a state league competition, from what I can understand.

“How they get to it and how they unwind (the Holden Cup) and when they have to make a call by — I’m not sure.

“You’ve got coaching staff and players involved so that’s why you've got to make a call at some point, which should be well in advance of 12-months out from the new TV deal.’’

Any decision made by the 16 CEO’s on Thursday will then be forwarded to the ARL Commission, who will make the final call on if the under-20s competition continues into the future.

Also the first comment on the Article from 'Warren' what a wanker.
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Warriors Orange Peeler
The irony of the lead picture isnt lost on anyone. Since 2008 the Warriors have been the most successful team in the competition.

Wayne Bennett wants it scrapped too so clubs can have more money...

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett says NRL should axe under-20s if clubs want more cash
JUNE 04, 2015 9:00PM

Wayne Bennett says the NRL should axe under-20s if clubs want more money. Pic Darren England.

BRONCOS coach Wayne Bennett has called for the NRL to axe the under-20s competition to deliver a $1 million windfall for club bosses threatening a revolt against the ARL Commission.

A Sydney-based faction is turning up the heat on the code’s governing body, with Roosters patriarch Nick Politis and Penrith supremo Phil Gould leading a backlash over the NRL’s funding structure.

NRL outfits receive $7.5 million annually from League Central, which distributes $120 million of its total $330m purse to the 16 clubs.


Nick Pappas (left) and Nick Politis at a secret NRL chairman’s meeting.


That equates to a 36 per cent funding allocation, but Politis and his rebel faction, which includes bosses at Canterbury, Souths, Cronulla and Parramatta, believe NRL clubs deserve a greater slice of the revenue pie.

However, the NRL found unlikely support from Bennett, who has regularly butted heads with the governing body and famously backed the Super League breakaway movement 20 years ago.

The code’s most successful coach had a simple solution for NRL bosses demanding more money, calling for the under-20s competition to be axed to save clubs $1 million annually.

“The clubs have never been better off, they have never got more money from the game,” Bennett said.

“I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the clubs in the sense that there is $7.5 million they get paid now.

“But if the clubs want to save money they (the NRL) can just cut the under-20s competition out, there is a million dollars there for every club.

“So much money is being tied up in under-20s now. If the game says well the 20s are gone, there’s a million dollars to (the clubs), then you already get yourself a pay increase.

“We cut reserve grade out in the 1990s because of the expense to the game, we stopped travelling with reserve grade.

“Now the NRL produce an under-20s comp which is costing the game a fortune.

“If the clubs want more money, there is a million dollars for each club if the 20s aren’t there.”

Jettisoning the youth competition would be problematic, with under-20s content for Fox Sports a feature of the NRL’s existing TV rights deal, which expires at the end of 2017.

Bennett warned Sydney-based club bosses of staging a mutiny, saying the code is bigger than any individual NRL club.


Wayne Bennett says the NRL should axe the under-20s if clubs want more money.

“If you look across the game, they have never got so much money,” he said.

“We just have to be careful, there is the clubs and there is the game and the clubs are not the total game.

“The revenue is generated from the clubs but the game provides the players to the clubs, whether you are talking about kids from Charleville or Wagga Wagga.

“The AFL have got the right model, they are about elitism at the senior level with one squad and I hope one day we will be able to do that.

“That will produce the best product for the game. We do have two strong state leagues in Queensland and NSW and that’s where the development can be done (instead of the under-20s).”


One of the ideas that the NRL is possibly looking at is too establish a Rookie draft.

One has to wonder which clubs would love that idea. Clubs that can't develop their own juniors or don't have many junior clubs to choose players from Roosters Storm? Had to have a chuckle to myself in regards to the comment in the above article too about "two strong state leagues..." The NSW cup is of a very poor quality.
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Warriors Orange Peeler
The NSW cup is of a very poor quality.
Been told that by players who have played in both. QLD Cup is far superior. One mate, a former Warriors U20 player, said they play pretty rough in the bush and its a hell of a lot more physical than when he was playing for the Vulcans.

Think a lot of people got a huge shock during last years 2014 NRL State Championship match when the NRL stacked Penrith Panthers team went down to the Northern Pride...
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Just take a look at the level of talent that has NRL experience playing in the Queensland cup compared to the NSW cup. If you want to get back into or force your way into the NRL your better to play for a QLD cup team than a NSW cup team.

Wish SKY would show the weekly channel 9 Queensland cup game that airs in Queensland.


As it stands U20s is a waste of clubs money.
No real incentive to develop youth and some clubs invest a lot like Raiders Warriors and Dragons and some next to nothing like Manly.
I think the comp should be stripped down. Should be 24 teams from across NZ and Aus. 2 comps of 12 teams, every team plays each other once and have separate finals series.
An 11 week comp plus 4 weeks of finals ending with a superbowl.
Comp starts during Origin time to give fans a kick whilst NRL falls asleep.
Not every NRL team has to have a team. But if they don't they can't sign any player under 21 years old because they won't develop talent. Teams that develop are allowed a bigger roster with larger salary cap.
To protect the integrity of the comp no one should be allowed to play reserve grade or NRL until the year of their 20th birthday or 2 seasons of U20s. Keep the talent in the comp like USA does to protect the college comps.
NRL pays every player salary and funds travel costs.
Clubs fund coaching, equipment and extras.
This will prevent QLD and NZ kids having to leave home for opportunities.
Group one: 11 QLD teams. 1 WA team.
Group two: 8 NSW team, 1 ACT. 1 Victoria. 2 NZ.
U20s offers opportunity but has not been thought through enough. You get the QLD cup and NSW cup clubs involved and you can get some real fans involved. U20s only works for our club cause we're the only team with u20 fans.
Strip it down and give fans and clubs a reason to support the comp and it can succeed.
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Jordan G

Living in QLD I see a lot of QLD Cup games and it is far far superior. There's nothing more I'd like to see than the Warriors affiliate themselves with a QLD Cup team or even more the reserve side to the QLD Cup because the benefits would be much greater.


Don’t know if it will have a huge effect on us, so long as there is a comp for the young players to participate in, they’ll still be going up against the same standard of opposition, maybe a bit watered down, and the warriors will still be pretty successful at it. And most of them will still find the jump to first grade a bloody great leap.

If the clubs are so cheap they don’t want to spend the money on U20’s, makes it look like a proper 16 team NRL reserve grade is unlikely.


The only one that wins here is the NZRFU.more incentive to try for a union contract dumb is are game fuck.dam just read Doyles thoughts.he beat me to it
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A Sydney-based faction is turning up the heat on the code’s governing body, with Roosters patriarch Nick Politis and Penrith supremo Phil Gould leading a backlash over the NRL’s funding structure.

NRL outfits receive $7.5 million annually from League Central, which distributes $120 million of its total $330m purse to the 16 clubs.
My initial thoughts on the first article was the CEO rebellion that is getting hinted at every so often and mentioned again in the article you posted. The two powerful clubs the Bulldogs and Roosters getting upset at the NRL and Dave Smith and wanting to confront them about funding. That probably deserves it's own thread but it's the usual case of people only worried about their own interests and the usual rugby league administration shooting itself in the foot.

I agree with Bennett that the clubs have never had it so good. I hope they don't just decide to scrap the under 20's on Thursday; they should decide in needs to be reviewed that go away and plan how they want the lower grades to look like. Otherwise we will back in this position in another 5 years.

The under 20's has it's faults with the gap between it and first grade. But it has been great for the Warriors recruiting guys. I remember one player (maybe Hurrell) said they had the chance of 1st 15 with the occasional game on TV or play on TV every week, travel, training etc playing league.


i've seen on other sites people say that the U20s puts too much stress on young players with traveling around playing and training while working/studying.


In regards to Under 20s, I too would like to see it scrap and merged with reserve cup side as one thing I always would like to see NRL do is adopt NFL/NCAA style college system. What you could do is you move your reserve cup side to already existing tertiary campus (in our case M.I.T in Otara) enrol all of our players in a course and have them play out there with emphasis that if they don't graduate they don't get to play in the top grade. You want to see more intelligent football being played in NRL then this is way to go about it ... ;)


being intelligent and playing intelligent football are two different things.
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Kirwan will get a bunch more talented kids whose careers will go nowhere at the blues if he is instructung them. A draft system would be ridiculous for us. Melbourne would be very keen. Rough to tell anyone where they have to go. Might get stuck under a terrible coach or shit team culture/style of play.

kiwi's 13-6

in NZ theres no state league for us to go back to, u20's well run comp attracting youth to the game, but most will not make it to being regular NRL 1st graders


Only the Blue's can play a shittier game than the Warriors and even if the U20 won 5 Premierships they still won't attract young players like Union. look at the number of Union games on the box even First 15 looks better than U20s. A stronger reserve grade would develop a better Ist grade comp and I also think U20s is developing too many players who will not be good enough to play Ist grade, but maybe U20s is to good of a money earner to get rid of, who knows.
Off The Bench

Off The Bench

Wayne Bennett has a bit much to say at the
moment , First changing the rules now this
can him Johnkey an everybody else over the
Age of 65 feckoff , You all had your chances at
Running the world and it's turned out shit
We need to develop youth or we won'thave a game
That's worth watching, If it's about profit , Why did they
get involved in the first place, This game is about young guys
playing in a park in front of families an friends, an fans
The players an coaches work hard an deserve any rewards they get
personally we need to stop listening to these corporate sell outs
and start listening to our people,
the local club supporters the ones that do the sausage sizzles in the
weekends, the ones that pick the boys up an drive them to training ,
wash the teams jerseys , Take time out to coach with no pay ,
Why are we not listening to these people,
Wayne Bennett has had a good deal out of league Don'tlet him
Shut the door on the next lot of people coming through,

Been told that by players who have played in both. QLD Cup is far superior. One mate, a former Warriors U20 player, said they play pretty rough in the bush and its a hell of a lot more physical than when he was playing for the Vulcans.

Think a lot of people got a huge shock during last years 2014 NRL State Championship match when the NRL stacked Penrith Panthers team went down to the Northern Pride...

I think you have highlighted something.
NSW Cup arguably has better players but not better football.

QLD doesnt neccesarily have better players but the competition is more independent of the NRL, rather than a reserve grade comp.
This does impact the crowds and general care factor - crowds, sponsors, fans and players.

Teeams are less affected by losing players each week and coaches can picked theere teams and build.

I dont fall for this arguement re getting rid of the NYC.

One point they are making that they will "save money" - Will they really?
Or will the superstars get more moeny or sports science get more money.

Young kids for the most part will play for little . Grown men need fulltime wages

They go on about NYC not being the best pathway to NRL ...when all clubs generally prmote their best talent to NSW Cup or QLD cup at some stage.
They also mention some kids get promoted to quickly.

However if you make the shop window smaller - what will happen is obvious talentl like Brad Abbey and the llikes will all be hotly conestested and will actually get signed earlier and given more money.

As you wont have this bigger base so the non-obvious talent might never emerge.

Other reasons:

QLD Cup - as discussed already successfull so will be hard to get rid of.

Nobody careas - commercially or from a fans pespective about the NSW Cup. So if they raiase importance etc. doesnt mean more will watch.

We dont want more NRL journeyman and fringe NRL veterans with no NYC thats what will happen.
No disrespect but it will mean more Brad Morrins.

If you are a fringe NRLplayer after a couple of years you should be moved on if you dont develop.


Does anyone know the rules regarding say if a player plays in nsw cup can he then play in a qld cup team the same year?

The reason I ask is if the u20s does get scrapped I would like to see us put a team in the qld cup as well as the nsw cup.

As great as it is having our u20s dominate the comp it hasn't translated through to first grade. What would be great is if we had our would be u20s play in both the nsw&qld cups with the current nsw cup players also split between the 2 comps. Have the teams train together with the cream rising to the top grade side.

If players were able to cross over between the 2 comps then you would be able to chop and change combinations to find the best pairings for the first grade team.

This still gives the juniors a pathway and would have them playing in a higher level competition and potentially still on TV

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