NRL salary cap negotiations to drag on

The NRL pay dispute looks set to drag on for several more weeks after the players’ union expressed reservations about the collective bargaining agreement put forward by the NRL.

It was thought that the lengthy saga was set to come to an end as early as Monday after the clubs and NRL on Thursday agreed on a $9.4 million salary cap next year.

With no salary cap in place for 2018 and the grand final a little over six weeks away, it’s the most pressing issue facing the game’s administrators and clubs.

Rugby League Players Association CEO Ian Prendergast on Friday met with the NRL and boss Todd Greenberg to receive their offer.

They hailed the “significant progress” being made on the issue but said there were still several sticking points including an agreement on a share of revenue.

In particular, the players want a percentage of any revenue above profit forecasts.

After the clubs rubber-stamped the salary cap on Thursday, it was hoped the RLPA would do the same at a meeting of its members in Sydney on Monday, but that looks unlikely to happen.

“It is unfortunate that we will not be in a position to take an in-principle agreement to RLPA members for consideration during the mass meeting on Monday,” Prendergast said.

“But we are committed to continue working towards reaching an agreement over the coming weeks.”

Club bosses left a high-powered Thursday meeting with the NRL confident a deal would be struck with the RLPA, and the long-running feud would be over.

“It’s a massive win for the players,” Brisbane chairman Dennis Watt said.

“The hope is that they will (accept the deal).

“I would be pretty excited if I was a top-30 player playing in the NRL now.”

Parramatta chief executive Bernie Gurr was also clear in his support to raise the cap from $7.1 million.

“It’s good for the players,” he said.

“They will get a significant increase and they’re entitled to share in an appropriate share of the game’s funds.”

The eventual proposal agreed upon by the league and the clubs on Thursday is made up of a $9.2 million base cap, which is inclusive of $100,000 motor vehicle allowance.

An additional $200,000 is available for veterans who have been at clubs for eight or more years, or development players who are under the age of 22 and have spent at least two years outside the club’s top 30.

The eventual total figure of $9.4 million is halfway between the requested $9.2 million of clubs with room to move, and the $9.6 million request by clubs who are strapped for cash in next year’s cap.

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