The U20 Holden Cup competition is set to be scrapped in 2018.
This comes after the release of the NRL strategic development blueprint today. The competition has produced superb Māori league superstars like Peta Hiku, Dallin Watene Zelezniak and Tama Koopu.
The new direction released by the NRL today aims to increase team numbers to 36 and introduce rookie contracts for the start of the 2018 season. Rookies are also restricted from debuting until they turn 19 years old.
The new strategy could also soon adopt a draft system much like that used in American sports.
According to Tony Iro, “Drafts are run in the AFL, NBA but rugby league has never experienced one and they won’t be used to one so whether they can convince enough people that that’s the way to go still remains to be seen.”
The State League will be revamped and upgraded into a Platinum League to spread the footprint of the competition into all areas that play rugby league.
The proposed changes are expected to come into effect at the end of the 2017 season.