If the NRL does indeed follow through with its proposal to implement a salary cap exemption to enable teams to raid rival codes, it will never have a better chance of flooding its ranks with rugby converts.
And yet for all that it will have the cash and the inclination to hunt the best talent, it stands virtually no chance of persuading any of New Zealand’s elite rugby talent to join the NRL.
Big-name All Blacks are not going to suddenly start signing with NRL teams just because their names appear on various clubs’ shopping lists and the media speculate about who would be athletically capable of making the switch.
The NRL is easily the best football code competition in Oceania, but it’s never going to lure established All Blacks, even if a few say they would be tempted.
A few Wallabies no doubt will jump ship, but it’s almost impossible for league to prise All Blacks out of a jersey that continues to offer experiences that money can’t buy.
When push comes to shove, there’s not enough on offer to persuade someone like World Rugby Player of the Year Ardie Savea to switch codes, despite the fact he has previously said a stint in league would tickle his fancy.
It’s a romantic, or nostalgic, idea for some All Blacks to join the NRL - a throwback to their earliest days perhaps when they may have played both league and rugby on alternate days, or for some, there may be a strong family connection.
Which is why the idea of playing in the NRL has tempted some recent All Blacks.
Ma’a Nonu came close to signing with the Wests Tigers in 2007. He went to Sydney, looked around the club and was seriously thinking he’d sign, only to commit to rugby.
T.J. Perenara had a good look at the NRL a couple of years ago - but he decided against signing with the Sydney Roosters and instead committed to the Hurricanes.
League doesn’t have enough to offer established All Blacks. The big attraction is the speed and style of the game and the intensity of the competition.
It’s well supported, well run, tribal, the storylines are compelling and the sport’s administrators get that they are in a fight for eyeballs and have none of the stiffness and arrogance of their rugby equivalents.
And right now, these are exceptionally powerful cards for the NRL to hold. Rugby is on a mad crusade to self-destruct because of its confused laws, while there is little confidence that Super Rugby Pacific is going to reinvent itself as the world’s premier provincial competition.
But the NRL doesn’t have the financial clout it used to have back in the 1980s and early 1990s when league was seemingly picking off established All Blacks every other month.
Rugby was amateur and, even though there were all sorts of dubious payments being made under the counter back then, the sport had no real means to compete with league, which was professional and therefore able to offer legitimate, above-board contracts that came with six-figure salaries, insurance cover, win bonuses and all sorts of perks.
Now rugby is the financial heavyweight and, if the NRL wants to grab the attention of an All Black, it will have to put $1 million a year on the table.
And even that probably won’t be enough as the best players are earning that sort of money in New Zealand - and double that if they play a season in Japan.
The bigger problem for the NRL is that league doesn’t have a vibrant, established international component to sweeten the pot.
That’s what will be the real killer in this quest to lure All Blacks - they won’t have that same ability to play internationally, in big stadiums with all the pressure and demands that come with representing your country.
If league had a better international set-up, rugby would be toast and All Blacks would be flowing into the NRL.
But for all the failings of Super Rugby, and the current inability to apply the laws sensibly, playing for the All Blacks will continue to be rugby’s best protection against the NRL.
It’s easy to see a handful of current or would-be Wallabies deciding to join the NRL in the next 12 months or so, and indeed a few are strongly rumoured to be contemplating just that.
But it’s hard to see All Blacks no longer wanting to be All Blacks, no matter how hard the NRL tries to recruit them.
Gregor Paul is one of New Zealand’s most respected rugby writers and columnists. He has won multiple awards for journalism and has written several books about sport.