RLPA urges NRL to consult over review

The NRL players’ union has urged the game’s administrators not to rush through recommendations from Shane Richardson’s review, particularly the proposed changes to the second-tier competition.

The NRL head of strategy Richardson’s blueprint for the game will be officially unveiled on Tuesday, but some details have already been revealed.

Amongst the reported proposals are an increase in players’ annual leave, a set international representative window, the axing of the under-20s competition by the end of 2017 and clubs no longer being able to pay players before they turn 19.

However, the proposed change that has caused plenty of angst is the revamp of the NSW Cup, which will see regional sides invited to join a Platinum League that would also force some NRL rivals to combine resources to field a team.

The Platinum League would take over from the 12-team NSW Cup and would likely include teams from New Zealand and the Pacific islands.

The restructure would result in clubs having less control over the development of their juniors.

The Rugby League Players Association met with the ARL Commission on Monday where it was presented with parts of the findings of Richardson’s review and was seeking more information.

RLPA president Clint Newton said more consultation was needed with clubs and players before the changes were pushed through.

“We’ve seen parts of it,” Newton said.

“There still needs to be plenty more discussion around it. We certainly want to be a big part of that discussion because it affects our players directly and indirectly and the pathways for players to come through.”

Newton said he was heartened by some commitments in Richardson’s blueprint including increased annual leave and a set international window.

“There’s an appetite for change and we’ve got to keep evolving because the demands are at the highest they’ve ever been,” Newton said.

“Compared to when I came into the game, the demands on the playing group have exceeded everyone’s expectation, even compared to three years ago when we signed the (collective bargaining agreement).”

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