RUMOURS are circulating that the long dispute between the NRL and the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) is about to reach a positive conclusion.
A press conference has been called to announce a deal tomorrow at 11am Sydney time.
The players and the league have been feuding for almost a year and a half over the percentage of the league’s income that is passed on to players. It is thought that a figure of 29.5% of revenue will be announced, with a salary cap of $9.4 million.
That figure would take the NRL into the same price brackets as the AFL, cricket and rugby union in terms of the amount that players are paid. The average wage will rise to $330,000 over the next 5 years, if reports are to be believed.
Asked whether the protracted nature of the dispute will affect discussions with NRL CEO Todd Greenberg in the future, Cameron Smith, General President of the RLPA, said: “Not at all. Todd came on board and was involved in discussions late in the piece. As soon as he was on board we made some headway with our proposal and where it will be finalised.”
“I think discussions that the players association team have had with the NRL are quite healthy and I think we’ve got a deal in place we should have finalised soon.”
The press conference tomorrow is due to be attended by Greenberg and Ian Prendergast, the chief executive of the RLPA. Cameron Smith is unavailable as he will be captaining Australia in their World Cup Group A match against France in Canberra on Friday evening.
There had been threats from the RLPA to boycott the World Cup and the Dally M Awards if a deal was not reached, but thankfully that has now been avoided. The NRL had been playing hardball of late, threatening to withdraw an offer that had been made to the players if it was not accepted by October 31.