Manly mastermind Des Hasler has proposed an NBA-inspired win percentage model as the "fairest" means of deciding this year's potential finalists in a rescheduled 2020 season.
The NRL's newly formed innovation committee will meet again on Thursday to consider "all options" around restarting the NRL, with the radical suggestion to reset the competition ladder unlikely to be tabled.
The idea of wiping results from rounds one and two gained traction with a two-conference system in play to keep players isolated and reduce the risk of further COVID-19-related delays.
Splitting the competition into eight-team conferences is still very much on the table, and would result in the NRL following a similar format to America's biggest sporting leagues.
Hasler believes adopting a similar win percentage measure as the NBA offers a fairer alternative to rugby league's traditional ladder model.
A win percentage is calculated simply by dividing a team's victories by the total games played.
Reuben Garrick Q&A
Under the Manly coach's proposal, teams would still be rewarded for the wins accumulated before the NRL's hiatus, and it also safeguards against the competition potentially being halted again.
"The fairest way to do it is using a win percentage, like what you see in the NBA," Hasler told NRL.com on Tuesday.
"It's a different time so let's why not try a different thing, and working from a win percentage rather than your regular win-loss, which is what the regular competition points table is at the moment, is a fairer way to work out your finalists.
"Take a seven-game season for example. If that's all we can play before the end of the year, with the two games from round one and two as well.
"That's nine games for each team, working out at roughly 11 per cent each game, and your table is ranked based on the games you've won, divided by the total games played.
"Most importantly, if the competition gets stopped again and we have to work out our finalists, working from a win percentage basis keeps it fair if some teams for example play six games, when others have only managed to play five."
In US sports, including the NFL and NBA, win percentages are expressed to three decimal places, with the Milwaukee Bucks' 53-12 record making them the top-ranked team in the NBA season boiling down to a win percentage of 0.815.
The NBA regular season was scheduled to finish on April 15, but commissioner Adam Silver said on Tuesday that no decision on whether the competition returns will be made for at least another month.
The prospect of that competition moving straight into finals and foregoing the last few weeks of regular games looks more likely by the day.
Despite the competition's March 11 suspension leaving some teams having played 64, 65 or 67 games, the NBA's win-percentage model allows for a fair comparison that rugby league's current competition structure would not if the season was forced midway through a round to shut down again.
"Given it could be a short season this model would also have something at stake in every game, and make every game extra competitive," Hasler added.
Baileys Bunker: Taupau embracing time away from the game
"You could end up with teams on the same percentage if there is a small number of games, and in that instance you could then go to your countbacks like tries, attack, defence et cetera."
A resumption date as early as May 28 has been floated and ARL chairman Peter V'landys has stated his optimism is growing for a mid-year restart following positive updates on the transmission of COVID-19 in NSW.
The innovation committee, headed by ARL Commissioner Wayne Pearce, will survey multiple scenarios and ideas around restarting the competition before a submission is made to the ARLC in late April.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.