Rugby league has struggled to recapture the popularity that it once enjoyed, with the sport’s popularity falling by around half.
While many have hailed the move by NRL clubs to put a marquee home game on a weekend weekend, the new structure has been controversial.
The weekend games are held at the end of March and start on Sunday, but have been contested at the same time as the main NRL season, meaning they can be played on weekends and the new format has been seen as a blow to the game.
One NRL club has said it is considering a week-long weekend series, while the league has been forced to reconsider its scheduling after the Sydney Roosters announced they were moving to a four-day season, and are considering a three-day format.
As well as the issues with the new weekends, a host of other issues have arisen in the past few years.
In the early 2000s, the NRL was forced to change its scheduling in the middle of a major crisis in the game, with new owners trying to avoid a repeat of the 2002 World Cup.
A decade later, the same issue forced the NRL to revisit its plans and re-design the entire schedule.
Newer games will not be played during the finals, meaning players and coaches will have to travel on long flights to and from the games.
It is unclear whether this will be the last major change to the league’s schedule in the coming years, but it will still be a huge headache for players, coaches and supporters.
At the time, NRL chief executive David Gallop said the changes would be a “huge blow” to the sport and had caused “a significant disruption” to many clubs and players.
But it has not been without its problems.
Following the NRL’s decision to change the format, it was revealed that more than 1,000 clubs had left the NRL for a new league in Europe, and the NRL had to consider re-signing a number of players in the process.
“The AFL, the ACT, the SA, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, South Africa, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland have all made an informed decision to relocate their teams,” Gallop told Fairfax Media in October.
After the NRL announced the new scheduling in 2018, the players union warned the league would not be able to compete in a modern, multi-game schedule, given the challenges of accommodating the growth of the game and the changing demographics of the population.
Many NRL clubs have had to move away from home games due to scheduling changes.
This year, the Rabbitohs were forced to move their home games to the Sydney Cricket Ground, with their other two venues in Townsville and Alice Springs being moved from the schedule.