If the system was applied to the competition after the opening two rounds, the Roosters would climb from 12th spot into eighth, while the 11th-placed Sharks would also leapfrog the Tigers and Sea Eagles into 10th. Sides such as Meninga’s winless Gold Coast would remain on the bottom of the ladder, but would have more chance of making up ground if they win big.
“Whilst you have to keep the integrity of the competition, it has to be aspirational as well,” Meninga said. “I use that word because you want to come ready to play in round three or four and five and still be a chance of making the finals. If it’s a shorter comp, I think it’s pretty unfair.
“There needs to be a discussion if it’s a shorter version of 15 or 16 rounds, there needs to be some other mechanism and I’ve suggested points for and against.
“So if you’re the Titans, you have to make up -56 points. What happens is you have to play good footy. You have to use the footy but also defend well to minimise the points against.
“It keeps teams in the game. Say Souths are on zero and [the Titans] are on -56 and then Souths lose their next game 20-10 to be -10. We might lose 12-10, but all of a sudden we can make eight points up and climb up the ladder.
“You still need to win games, but it’s more aspirational for us because we need to win games well by playing attractive footy.
“If you win by 20, you might be able to climb two spots. That also rewards the teams that started well.
“I was working on it yesterday. I talked to [Project Apollo chief and ARLC commisioner] Wayne Pearce about it and a few of the clubs as well.
“If you do your modelling, it works out pretty well.”
Meninga offered another left-field approach which takes into consideration a shifting of the goalposts after the coronavirus halted the premiership. If teams are to keep their initial competition points, he suggested their worth should be reflected by the length of the season.
“If you do a ratio, if you play 20 games, that’s 80 per cent of [scheduled] games,” Meninga explained. “So if you’re on four competition points, that changes to 3.2 and two points becomes 1.6.
“If you’ve got 15 games, that’s 60 per cent of games. So if you’re on four points, that changes to 2.4 and if you’ve got one win it’s 1.2.”
Under Meninga’s model, teams would play for two competition points from now on, but the teams without points wouldn’t be as far back in the field.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys on Saturday said Test football in 2020 “isn’t off the table”, a comment Meninga welcomed. The Australian mentor said it was important to play international football if possible ahead of a World Cup year.
“It would be wonderful if we can get in at least a couple of games,” he said.
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.