THE Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles will have an affiliation with an NRL club next season, but it remains to be seen which one.
The Daily understands that the NRL will announce today that from next season all Intrust Super Cup and NSW Cup clubs will be required to have a feeder deal with an NRL team.
It leaves the Coast in the strange position of having to strike up an association before the 2014 season kicks off in just three months.
The Sea Eagles have held talks with Manly, the Roosters and the Sharks this year in an attempt to strike up a player-sharing relationship.
The Sea Eagles have all but closed the door on negotiations with Manly and the Roosters, but are hopeful of striking a deal with the Sharks.
Sunshine Coast chief executive Chris Flannery said he was also keen to start a dialogue with the Bulldogs via coach Des Hasler.
Hasler had a close association with the Coast during his time as Manly head coach, when the two clubs shared a feeder agreement in 2009-10.
He is also known to be fond of the Coast and has brought the Canterbury squad to the Palmer Coolum Resort on several occasions for training camps.
Flannery acknowledged the expected NRL edict would put the Sea Eagles in a strange position, but was hopeful it could push a deal over the line.
"Once all is revealed, it's going to be a bit of a scramble to link with an NRL club," he said. "It (a mandatory NRL feeder agreement) would be unbelievable for a club like us and if it is the case it would definitely make for exciting times for rugby league on the Coast."
It is understood the feeder arrangement requirement is one of several key announcements contained in NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle's report into the second tier of Australian rugby league.
For the past three years the Sea Eagles have languished at the foot of the competition after the snuffing out of their affiliation with Manly, but it seems the path is about to be cleared for the Coast to strike up a feeder deal with a NSW-based NRL club when the governing body overhauls its dual registration laws.
Under current rules, a NSW-based NRL team cannot have a feeder deal with a Queensland-based state league team, and vice versa.
ONCE the laws are overhauled, NRL clubs will be allowed affiliations that cross state lines, as long as they also have a feeder team in their home state.
Therefore a NSW-based NRL team would be able to have a player-sharing agreement with an ISC club, as long as they also had a team in the NSW Cup.
ISC clubs have seen the draft findings of Doyle's review and will be given a full report at a meeting of ISC club chief executives in Brisbane today.
Other announcements are expected to include:
- Expansion plans including the timeline for the inclusion of a Papua New Guinean side
- A Super Bowl-style playoff between the Intrust Super Cup and NSW Cup premiers to be played on grand final day
- State competition games to be re-introduced as curtain raisers to NRL matches
- $10.8 million in funding for ISC and NSW Cup clubs ($100,000 annually per club over the next three years).
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