Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis was not impressed with the revised NRL 2020 schedule, claiming the updated draw in unfair.
Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis was not impressed with the revised NRL 2020 schedule, claiming the updated draw in unfair.

Roosters boss slams biased NRL draw

Outspoken Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis has berated the revised draw for the 2020 NRL premiership.

After the fixtures for the final 18 rounds were released on Thursday, Politis accused the NRL of unfairly putting the defending champions against top-tier clubs more often than other teams.

The NRL understandably want the strongest clubs to face each other more regularly in hope of generating interest among the competition's fanbase. As a result, the Roosters are scheduled to face each of the Rabbitohs, Dragons, Broncos, Raiders and Storm twice - three of those teams finished in the top four last season.

Politis was less than impressed with the outcome, and even banned Roosters CEO Joe Kelly from referring to the schedule as a "draw".

"It's not a draw - it's a TV schedule," Politis told Fox Sports.

"A draw is when you've got fairness. I've told Joe Kelly we're banned from using the word draw.

"I've been bringing this up at the chairmans' meeting for the last couple of years now.

"What's next? We've had the rule changes, the referees, next thing they'll tell us we can only take the field with 12 players."

Nick Politis celebrates with Rooster star James Tedesco.
Nick Politis celebrates with Rooster star James Tedesco.

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In April, Politis also called for the NRL ladder to start again, arguing points from the opening two rounds were no longer valid after the coronavirus lockdown.

"If you change the draw, you've got to start again. If the current points are to stand, we have to play over a full season," Politis said.

"It becomes meaningless and makes it almost mathematically impossible for the bottom sides to make the top four.

"This isn't just about the Roosters. It's about the integrity of the competition and giving every club and their fans a fair chance."

The Canberra Raiders also suffered from the reshuffled schedule. Riding high after reaching last year's grand final, the Raiders were given their most free-to-air exposure in a decade in the original 2020 draw.

However, the revised schedule has forced a rethink, with the loss of six rounds and significant broadcaster input.

Canberra aren't guaranteed a game on the Nine Network after round 10, with the possibility of playing no home games on TV at their own GIO Stadium.

It comes after the club was asked to shift its home ground base to Campbelltown Stadium for the competition restart, despite North Queensland and Melbourne being able to have the sole use of their home grounds.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.
Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Although Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is not personally concerned whether his team's games are broadcast on free-to-air, he acknowledged the club's fans and sponsors would be impacted. The 53-year-old also questioned Channel 9's commitment to rugby league.

"Look, to be quite honest, I wouldn't know if we are on free-to-air or pay TV. It doesn't really concern me. I am not commercially minded," Stuart told The Daily Telegraph.

"But in respect to our appearances on Channel 9 it is pretty much the same every year for us. But where is the reward for our sponsors and our fans to watch us on free-to-air after making the grand final last year?

"Ever since I've been back in Canberra this has been very common and shows me that Channel 9 doesn't like the Canberra Raiders.

"Actually, from communication over the last month, I don't even think Channel 9 like rugby league."

- With AAP


Originally published as Roosters boss slams biased NRL draw