Clubs at loggerheads with Grant and ARLC

Tensions continue to simmer between NRL clubs and the ARLC, with a number of club chairmen reportedly walking away from a meeting with John Grant on Wednesday.

Nick Politis (Sydney Roosters), Ray Dib (Canterbury), Scott Penn (Manly), Bart Campbell (Melbourne) and Jim Doyle (Warriors) were all left frustrated after the ARLC Chairman, in conjunction with ARL commissioner Tony McGrath and the NRL’s head of club service Tony Crawford, blocked moves to increase club funding.

“All of the attendees today feel that the meeting was a step backwards in terms of where discussions have been,” Campbell told News Corp Australia.

“In essence, [Wednesday] wasn’t a positive step forward from where conversations have been headed.”

At the top of the clubs’ list of concerns is the continual increase of the salary cap, without additional funding going directly to clubs going beyond that increase.

Most frustrations were directed at Grant, with the head-honcho assuming even more power in the wake of CEO David Smith’s resignation earlier this month.

“There is a view that Grant is the least constructive when it comes to negotiation. He is the main reason talks have gone backwards,” one chairman said.

“He has a completely different viewpoint to the clubs. Patience is wearing thin. We’re actually making less progress than when Smith was there.”

Reports have circulated for months that many NRL clubs are considering a break-away league due to continual sticking points in negotiations with the ARLC.

The likelihood of that happening is compromised though given the Wests Tigers, St George Illawarra, Gold Coast and Newcastle are financially-backed by the NRL, with their licences expiring at a separate time to the other 12 clubs.

The five chairmen will meet with the other heads of club next week via a phone hook-up.

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