Fittler's Plans To Save Country Footy

Man with a plan

Fittler's Plans To Save Country Footy

Image: @Nuggetwood

NSW City Origin coach Brad Fittler believes each NRL team should each be given a country region to foster as their own, to help promote bush footy after the axing of the City-Country match following this year's fixture.

Fittler's plan involves far more than just each club taking a game to the bush, but a holistic approach that includes juniors and retiring players' wellbeing.

The Penrith and Sydney Roosters legend is still frustrated over the end of the annual game, which will be played in Mudgee on Sunday, and is adamant more needs to be done to promote the game outside of capital cities.

Fittler wants a draft system to allocate regions of Australia to NRL clubs based on performance.

The country areas with the best talent and on-field performances would be open first to the lowest clubs on the NRL ladder.

Each side would then have clearer access to the club's juniors, and have retiring players encouraged to take up development officer and senior bush player roles in that zone, if they wish.

Clubs would also be forced to take at least one home game to the region each year - an idea often met with resistance due to finances, but Fittler said that should be irrelevant.

"There's always an accountant counting the numbers, but unless you do the right thing it falls apart," Fittler said.

"If you've got no teams out here playing and the interest wanes and keeps waning, you'll soon run out of money."

Fittler also believes the benefit would be two-fold, with jobs on offer for older players to help ease them into retirement.

Clubs would also be given salary cap dispensation for players developed from their time in the region, as a reward for assisting in their development through coaching clinics.

FITTLER'S GRAND PLAN FOR BUSH FOOTY:

* NRL clubs are allocated zones via a draft, with lower-ranked sides given best talent areas.

* Clubs given a salary cap dispensation for picking up players from their region.

* Retiring players are offered jobs in game development in region to assist post-football transition.

* Clubs take at least one home game to their region each year.

- AAP

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