RLPA Applying The Pressure

The National Rugby League has described as unreasonable a threat by the Rugby League Professionals Association to boycott this year's Dally M Awards night.

The threat is a clear failure by the RLPA to abide by a public agreement.

On August 5, the RLPA publicly agreed to a November 1 deadline for all Collective Bargaining Issues.

It agreed that all issues be discussed as part of an overall agreement.

Despite departing from that agreement, despite giving the NRL just two working days to formulate an initial position on six issues and despite a public admission today by RLPA President Tony Butterfield of the genuine effort being made on the part of the NRL, a group of players has this afternoon issued a threat to boycott Tuesday's scheduled awards night.

Of the six issues it appears from the RLPA press release that three have been agreed to.

The NRL sees it as completely unreasonable that it should be expected to negotiate in the face of such a threat and will now consider whether the awards night will go ahead.

"The RLPA decision today will not help us get to a CBA," NRL Chief Executive, Mr David gallop said today.

"The NRL has made significant concessions in these areas in a short space of time.

"Twice now we have been due to meet with a group of players to ensure their understanding of the issues and twice the opportunity has been withdrawn at the last possible moment.

"It is incorrect to suggest that these issues are solely related to young players entering the code, indeed there is significant concern among the clubs that some of the measures being sought by the RLPA will reduce the opportunities for young players.

"The RLPA is acutely aware of the complexity surrounding the guaranteeing of payments.

"They are aware of the efforts we have offered in this area and of our commitment to look for further avenues.

"You cannot expect the game to make a decision to pick up a guarantee on all players contracts in such a short space of time, given that in terms of current contracts the full exposure would be well over $100million.

"It is worth noting that, despite the RLPA threat, at 6.00pm this evening we had still not received the players 'issues paper' from today's meeting."