Picture: Brendan EspositoIT’S the schedule of byes they’d be happy to bypass.
The Panthers are one of only three teams in the competition to play games in rounds 11, 14 and 17 — the three rounds that fall directly before a State of Origin clash — meaning they must survive three clashes without their most dangerous weapons.
In contrast, current competition leaders the Melbourne Storm enjoy two byes across the three fixtures while the Bulldogs, reigning premiers the Sea Eagles, the Titans and the struggling Eels also collect two.
Every other team is given one — except the Panthers, Sharks and Warriors, who must must battle on with none. “I’m not too sure how that all works really,” coach Ivan Cleary said.
“We’re actually getting byes around the Origin period but we’re not getting them before the games, so you lose your players. It’s like our byes are in completely different parts of the season.”
Last Monday, the Panthers played the Warriors — who are rarely affected by Origin due to their overseas location — without NSW representatives Luke Lewis, Michael Jennings and Tim Grant.
When contacted by the Star, the NRL said the scheduling of byes during the Origin representative season was often dictated by the number of players a team had in the previous year’s Origin series.
So the more players a club had in the 2011 series, the more likely their 2012 byes were tailored to accommodate them during Origin. Also influential on the outcome of the overall draw is the availability of venues throughout the season and each club’s requests to play certain teams twice during the year.
The NRL acknowledged the potential disadvantage teams such as the Panthers were prone to and said as of next year, there would be a further concentration of byes before and after Origin matches to minimise impact on clubs.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.