THE player-points system slated to come into effect next Northern NSW State League season is causing confusion and concern among clubs.

But is the gain worth all the pain?

Clubs have provided a list of their top 20 players, and the points they would accrue, to Northern NSW Football to give the federation an idea of where to set the first-year benchmark for admission into the National Premier League.

A presentation of club submissions will be made to the National Competition Review implementation committee tomorrow night.

Each club is given 200 points for their top 20 players. Each player is assigned 10 points, and points are added or subtracted from there to favour under-25, home-grown and loyal talent.

Only three of the nine clubs, Weston (176), Charlestown (180) and South Cardiff (187), would fit under the cap if it was in place now.

NNSWF, however, has said the 2014 cap will be higher to ease the transition then be wound back over the following few years to 200.

Figures such as 230 or 250 have been discussed as a starting cap, but even those will be difficult to achieve for some.

Lake Macquarie (337), Lambton Jaffas (300) and Edgeworth (280) would go through significant upheaval to get near them.

Promoted clubs are given 30 points’ dispensation, but that won’t help newcomers the Jaffas in their second season.

Broadmeadow (212), Hamilton (224) and Valentine (230) are not far away and would seemingly have little trouble getting under a revised target.

But, it must be said, not all those figures are guaranteed to be correct. Some of it is guesswork. In many cases clubs have claimed dispensation for developing elite players or keeping home-grown talent in the hope they followed the guidelines correctly.

This has added to concerns over how clubs will deal with the change and, more importantly, how it will be policed.

But perhaps the better question is: does the competition need it?

The player-points system is one of the criteria set out by the nationwide NCR for entry into the NPL.

It is designed to improve youth development and curb excessive player payments.

But the Emerging Jets program is already aligned to the State League and grabs the best juniors from under 10s onwards, so who are the clubs developing?

Surely, any talent worth the Jets’ interest will be picked up long before they turn 20, and anyone older than that is very long odds to progress past State League level.

As for curbing player payments, most see the benefits, but when was the last time a State League club went bust?

Edgeworth in 1978?

Bloated payments have regularly killed rugby league clubs in Newcastle, but soccer teams have shown far greater restraint. Also, the promotion-relegation system provides a safety net of sorts for those who overreach.

Despite their concerns, most clubs see the benefits of encouraging junior development and discouraging big-money battles for players.

However, everyone is questioning the need to drive out older players when they are still among the best in the league. Starting points penalties at age 28 or 30 appears to make more sense.

As it stands, the points system will only improve lower divisions and damage State League standards.

And what’s the point of that?

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