Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the purpose of the national competition?
A: To provide opportunities for players, coaches, managers, referees and administrators to develop their skills and experience and to bridge the gap between the skill levels of current Premier Rugby and fully professional Super 14 Rugby.
Q: When does the competition start?
A: The first games for 2007 will be on the weekend of August 11/12, with eight rounds of competition (starting & finishing with a local derby). The semi-finals will be on October 6/7 and the Final on October 13/14.
Q: What happens to Queensland Premier Rugby?
A: It starts and finishes earlier to accommodate the new competition, but there will still be two rounds and we expect it to be even more keenly contested as players vie for selection in the national teams. And the experience gained in the national competition will lift the standard of Premier Rugby over time.
Q: Where will the National Rugby Competition players come from?
A: Potentially from all over Australia, but predominantly from the four Super 14 teams and the Brisbane and Sydney Premier competitions. Expressions of Interest have been invited from uncontracted players looking to take part in 2007. The deadline for submission to the ARU is October 31, 2006.
Q: Are overseas players eligible?
A: The National Comp includes the provision for one "marquee" player per team who is not subject to the financial restrictions of the player contracting protocol, which means they can be paid more than the others.
This player can either be a foreign player or a non-contracted Australian player.
If a team nominates an Australian player as their marquee player, the team would still be able to sign up a foreign player, however that foreign player would have to fall within the contracting restrictions (because the marquee player has used the one-off exemption).
This policy allows teams the flexibility to attract an additional big-name player, while not diminishing the opportunities for our own club players (a maximum of 8 positions out of 224 players would be available to foreign players = 3.5%).
The policy towards foreign players was widely discussed at the Cap Gemini workshop and has been agreed by the State Unions.
Q: How do uncontracted players apply?
A: The ARU has invited Expressions of Interest from elite level players who believe they're up to it. Players who wish to be considered for one of the Queensland teams will be able to nominate that on their form. The deadline for submission is October 31, 2006.
Q: How will coaches be selected?
A: The Reds Assistant coaches will be appointed as Head Coaches for the two teams, with their two assistant coaches to be selected by the Head Coach and the Team's Steering Committee (consisting of representatives from each participating club or region). Expressions of interest will be invited shortly.
Q: How will players be selected?
A: Once Expressions of Interest have been passed on by the ARU to the regions, selections will be undertaken by each team's coaching panel (comprising a Head Coach from the QRU High Performance Department and two assistant coaches chosen from Clubs) in association with the Reds Head Coach. Each coaching panel will be answerable to each of the respective Team Steering Committees. The process may take some time, as each player's prospects are carefully evaluated and the list of contenders pared down to a total of 28 per team (with some on stand by). The idea is that players from the Premier club or region associated with a particular team will be directed to that team, but this will not always be the case as the objective will be to field the two strongest possible Queensland teams.
Q: Will Reds Academy players automatically get picked ahead of non-contracted Premier or Country Heelers players?
A: Not necessarily; it will depend on the individual. The objective of the competition is to provide a pathway for players between Premier level and S14. This means that the team has to be competitive, so the best players (including those who may have the best potential and are ready to step up) should be chosen. As always in selections, there will be debates about which players are able to handle the contest now and which are not yet ready. We'd expect that if Academy players are not already playing at Premier level, they'll find it hard to make the grade in this competition. However there will always be talented exceptions.
Q: Are the playing contracts for one year only, or ongoing?
A: The contracts will be renewable annually, in order to ensure that the best available players are selected each year.
Q: Where will players come from?
A: Players will come from Reds, Academy and Clubs/Country Heelers. Each team of 28 players could well be made up of 10-12 Reds, 5-7 Academy players and 10-12 Premier/Country Heelers players.
Q: Must you play Premier Grade/Heelers to be eligible each year?
A: Yes, as a rule. However there could be exceptional cases.
Q: How much will non-contracted players be paid?
A: Non-contracted players will receive a sign-on fee of $8,000 and match fees of $500 per game.
Q: What happens if I'm a fulltime student or have a job?
A: That will be taken into account on a case-by-case and team-by-team basis and we'll do what we can to accommodate that by having "work friendly" training times etc. It's something we'll be happy to discuss with you or your employer or institution if you make the cut.
Q: What happens if I'm from Brisbane and I get selected to play in Melbourne?
A: There will be various accommodation and relocation allowances which will apply in this case.
Q: When will training start?
A: The competition will begin immediately after the end of Premier Rugby, so once your club commitments finish you will be available to train with your national competition team.
Q: Why are there two Brisbane teams?
A: These are two Queensland teams who are expected to play most of their games at Ballymore initially, while the competition is getting established. What happens in the future will depend on how the competition evolves and the benefits to the competition and to the code that may be offered by playing elsewhere.