The controversial National Rugby Championship has got a big thumbs up from the majority of players, but almost half want the competition to return to Super Rugby laws.
The third tier of rugby behind Test and Super levels, the oft-maligned NRC has completed a third season.
Statistics released by the Australian Rugby Union and the Rugby Union Players Association paint a largely positive picture of the competition which acts as a bridge between club and Super Rugby.
Attendances were up by 10 per cent and there was a broadcast viewership increase of 23 per cent per game.It could justifiably lay claim to being the most entertaining rugby competition involving Australian teams, averaging almost ten tries a game.
However it has battled to get a share of media coverage as it ran parallel to the Rugby Championship which meant most of Australia's top players didn't participate in the eight-team competition.
In the NRC player survey, 82 per cent of respondents said it improved their overall rugby development and 96 per cent said their overall NRC experience was positive,
However 44% of players said the 2017 NRC, which will include one extra team based in Fiji, should revert to the same laws as Super Rugby.A number of law innovations were trialled in the 2016 NRC.
The scoring system had the points value for tries increased to six and conversions to three, while penalties and field goals were reduced to two.
There was reduced time limits for conversion and penalty attempts and if a non-throwing team didn't contest a lineout the straightness of the throw wasn't a consideration.
The increasing influence of the NRC as part of the pathway to Wallabies selection was evidenced by the additions to the main spring tour squad selected by coach Michael Cheika.
Four NRC stars travelled as development players with the main squad and of the eight additions to the squad last Sunday, seven played in this year's competition.