National News

Richardson suggests future changes to NRL

South Sydney boss Shane Richardson has outlined his vision for the future of the NRL, which includes a reduction to the number of NRL rounds and the establishment of a World 9s circuit.

Richardson has urged officials to prioritise the future direction of the game over what will earn the most money, and has suggested four pieces of the game "to sell".

The Rabbitohs boss wants the number of NRL rounds to be reduced to 22 to allow all three State of Origins to be separate events, the establishment of a World 9s circuit, and the introduction of a detailed international schedule.

There are currently 25 NRL rounds each season, but Richardson says this number should be reduced to 22, claiming that less matches would result in value-added games.

He also envisions an expanded version of the Nines which could be played all around the world with non-NRL and Super League players.

"There are four pieces of the game to sell - not one - and it is not all about the NRL," Richardson told NRL.com.

"In my opinion, the NRL should be 22 rounds, three standalone State of Origins, a wonderful Nines competition played around the world and on top of that you have international football.

"With less fixtures you would have better quality of players playing less games but playing value-added games.

"Our major competitor [AFL] doesn't have international football and they don't have Nines but what we can't do is just add them on, we have to have a plan."

Richardson, who believes the international game should be profitable, has pointed to the growth of rugby league in Tonga since the introduction of the annual Pacific Test concept in 2013 as a good example of how the international game can be advanced.

He has also called for an annual funding grant for the New Zealand Rugby League so it can avoid staging Tests solely due to the need to generate income.

"Even if we gave them half as much money it would still be better than what they get at the moment and they wouldn't have to worry about putting Test matches on just for the sake of needing money," he said.

© AAP 2019