Preparations continue for Wednesday’s State of Origin Series opener, but pay negotiations are dominating talks leading into the clash.
The Blues and Maroons have found even ground, with captains Boyd Cordner and Cameron Smith both slamming the NRL for its handling of the deal.
It comes after a series of NRL emails were leaked, claiming the Rugby League Players Association’s collective bargaining agreement proposal was unaffordable and showed “an apparent disregard for the game”.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The NRL reportedly told clubs the plan would threaten to eat into club grants that are believed to be 130 per cent of a salary cap that could reach as high as $10 million.
Smith, the RLPA’s General President, says the players are prepared for a fight and will not rule out going on strike.
“It’s unfortunate we have to talk about this before Origin I to be honest.
“But it’s come to that because of the actions of the NRL over the last week or two.
“We have done so in the past but the players and the RLPA aren’t going to run away this time.”
But NRL boss Todd Greenberg believes such measures won’t be necessary.
“I haven’t heard that, I haven’t seen that. I don’t think it’ll come to that,” Greenberg said.
“We’ve been in really good discussions with the players and their association for a number of months but as I said at the outset, these are big negotiations for the players.
“I understand that and they’ve got their point of view to put across.
“Equally, we have a point of view that says we have to ensure the game has affordability across all levels.”
Greenberg also denied the game had mismanaged their finances after Smith questioned how league bosses were spending revenue, with more than $400 million predicted to come through the game’s coffers over the next five years.