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Volume 10 No. 22
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NRL Officials Ready To Talk To Players About Increase Of Salary Cap

National Rugby League officials "are set to put an offer to a heavy-hitting group of players including Jarryd Hayne, Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston at a critical and potentially explosive collective bargaining agreement meeting in Sydney on Friday," according to Glenn Jackson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The move "will come after NRL interim CEO Shane Mattiske's concession on Thursday the administration was not bound to a A$5M ($5.2M) salary cap for next year." However, the potential for breathing room "has been clouded by the clubs," which are understood to "have voted during a CEOs meeting on Wednesday for the cap to be set at A$5M, flying in the face of the players." Should the NRL officials follow the clubs' vote with the offer of a A$5M cap Friday, they "will be likely met with anger from the players." The association "has been pushing for a A$6.5M cap to be divided among an increased squad of 30 players, but it is unlikely the union will succeed with that request" (SMH, 11/30).

BOYCOTT TALK: In Sydney, Brent Read reported "there has been talk of players boycotting next year's Indigenous All Stars game over the slow progress of the salary cap and collective bargaining agreement talks." However, there "is support in some quarters for an NFL-style lockout" until the commission and Rugby League Players' Association "can reach agreement on the cap." That would mean "players boycotting preseason training and have the effect of sending a strong message without affecting the season proper, unless of course the stalemate extends well into next year." It is understood the clubs "have asked Mattiske to speak to the commission over the prospect of increasing the grant in line with any salary cap increases." Should the commission insist the grant must stay at A$7M next season, the clubs "are expected to strongly resist any attempts to increase the cap for '13" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/30).

The AAP reported "suburban NRL grounds could be a thing of the past with the league intent on implementing a stadium strategy" that "will deliver average crowds of 20,000 by '17." In a development sure to divide fans of a host of Sydney clubs, the NRL "will spend the next three months consulting clubs and their supporters in a bid to determine where games are played in the future" (AAP, 11/28).