ARLC Officials, Players Could Sign New Deal By Year End, Suggests Higher Salary Cap
Far "from being poles apart on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Australian Rugby League Commission officials and the players are now closing in on a new deal -- and may even have it signed off by the new year," according to Glenn Jackson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Officials from both sides "emerged from a lengthy meeting on Wednesday more positive than they have ever been through the process after an 'enhanced' offer was put to the playing group." Following that offer, the parties are now "close" to a resolution. That "would suggest an increase on the A$5.5M ($5.8M) salary cap" -- which included a A$400,000 marquee allowance -- which was put to the players almost two weeks ago. ARLC Chair John Grant said, "We put another proposal back to them, which they took on board very positively. We've already put an offer that enhances '13, and that's got to build over the time [to the end of the new broadcast rights deal]." Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah said there was "cause for optimism." He added, "We're not sitting there butting heads. Both parties are really working hard towards reaching an agreement" (SMH, 12/13).
POSITIVE DISCUSSIONS: Cronulla Sharks skipper Paul Gallen said that "the discussions were positive." Gallen said, "The NRL has come back with a really good offer today. It's not where we want to be, but it's certainly not too far off. Things are moving forward. We're not too concerned about the date when we get a final answer. Hopefully before Christmas, you never know" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/13). In Sydney, Josh Massoud wrote "the circuit breaker was a willingness from the NRL [National Rugby League] to life next year's cap to between A$5.5M and A$5.8M, primarily through raising each club's marquee player allowance." An increase "of such magnitude would help" the Penrith Panthers and Manly Sea Eagles, which are "struggling to accommodate their squads under next year's cap." The "reliance on marquee players also relieves Grant from having to erode the future fund to compensate clubs for direct payments" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/13).