Link: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...t/news-story/1e048499aa6ef11f34fd983999186144 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CLUBS will not be compelled to release players for the Denver Test match between New Zealand and England after a joint letter signed by the NRL, the Rugby League Players Association and the NRL clubs said they would not support the match. Although the group conceded the match would go as planned this year, it warned NRL players would not be released for the fixture if it goes ahead as scheduled in 2019 and 2020. The NRL has ruled out sanctioning clubs who do not let their players play. The Daily Telegraph has obtained a letter signed by NRL boss Todd Greenberg, his RLPA counterpart Ian Prendergast and South Sydney chief executive Blake Solly which was fired off to the respective New Zealand and England rugby league boards. The letter was highly critical of the match being staged in Denver next month, declaring “we are not in a position to support the match”. “We have no doubt that you will do everything in your control to provide for the safety and welfare of the players while under your care, but the simple reality remains that the extent of travel and (lack of) recovery time cannot be considered ‘best practice’,” the letter read. “To support the match, there would need to be agreement from the Clubs to stand all participating players down for round 16. That is not a position that the clubs are willing to take, nor should they be required to take given the NRL season was determined well before this proposed test match was officially scheduled.” Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has already indicated he would rest any player picked to play in Denver for the club’s match against Cronulla three days later. St George Illawarra’s James Graham and South Sydney’s Sam Burgess have thrown their support behind the concept. This letter follows up from last month’s chief executive meeting of all clubs. “We accept that players may want to participate in 2018,” the letter read. “If they wish to participate they will not be prevented from doing so. However, we will not compel clubs to release players for the match. The RLPA has advised that they will not discourage players from participating but will ensure players are fully informed in order to make a decision about their availability. “One area we would like (the respective boards) to consider is the removal of the three-week excess period that applies to insurance cover to insulate clubs from the financial impact of player injury.” The letter also hit back at plans for the match to be played around the same time for the next three years. Only this year’s game had received sanctioned from the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF), with the letter declaring their support for the match to be played at the end of the NRL season. “A post-season match would also guarantee that the quality of teams representing England and New Zealand will be better and the match will be a stronger promotional vehicle for the sport in the US,” the letter read. “The Rugby Football League confirmed it will make no money from the game in 2018. Given the match will deliver little or no commercial benefit to the competing countries it seems that the driver behind the match is the strategic opportunity of expansion in the US. We support this opportunity but we don’t understand the choice of Denver. “If RLIF was to sanction a test match in Denver in June beyond 2018, there is little prospect that NRL players will be released to participate in the match.” The 16 NRL clubs received the letter on Monday morning. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ While everyone is looking at State of Origin, the NRL (lol at South Sydney especially) have made their move against the Denver Test because they know that no one cares about it. I am very convinced that Shaun Johnson and RTS will not play for NZ due to their injuries.