NRL pay war expected to drag on despite high-powered negotiations

The NRL pay war looks set to drag on, despite the NRL, the player’s union and clubs just finishing two days of negotiations late on Tuesday.

NRL stars James Maloney, James Graham and Chad Townsend were all involved in the talks, as was Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle.

It was the first time all three parties came together since the Rugby League Players’ Association responded last month to the governing body’s initial offer on next year’s salary cap.


They released a joint statement describing this week’s talks as “constructive”.

RLPA CEO Ian Prendergast said the meetings had provided players with an opportunity to meet with the NRL and Clubs to work through the various issues set out in our respective proposals.

“The RLPA welcomed the information and remains committed to ensuring players receive a fair outcome out of the negotiations” he said.

NRL Chief Operating Officer Nick Weeks said the negotiations will take some time to conclude and it was always envisaged that the lock-in was an important early part of the process.

“All parties are treating the negotiations seriously and respectfully and we look forward to making further progress in the weeks ahead,” he said.

The RLPA will pass on the developments from the meetings to its board, including members George Burgess and Cameron Smith, at a meeting on Wednesday, with the possibility of a strike still looming.

The key issue is players are pushing for a revenue-sharing model, in which they want to include a base salary cap of $9.1 million next season before long-serving player and car allowances are added.

However, the NRL wants a fixed model, with a gradual increase of player payments by 45 per cent over the life of the next broadcast deal, between 2018 and 2022.