James Maloney of the Sharks has described the NRL's salary cap proposal as
James Maloney of the Sharks has described the NRL's salary cap proposal as "underwhelming”. PAUL MILLER

Clubs could be forced into fire sale by salary cap

THERE could be a fire sale of NRL players, with some clubs set to be under salary cap pressure after the NRL's intention to raise the base salary cap by $1.28 million next year.

Some clubs have been budgeting on a salary cap between $9.5 million to $10 million but the final figure could up to a $1 million below predictions. It means some teams may be forced to shed players for next season if they have over-spent on player payments after incorrectly estimating what the final figure would be.

The NRL has proposed a base salary cap of $8.3 million for their top 30 players after meeting with the Rugby League Players Association on Thursday.

The base salary cap this year is $7.025 million with inclusions such as $100,000 for motor vehicles, $300,000 veteran player allowance and $300,00 for development players.

The proposed salary cap includes a $40,000 increase on motor vehicles and $100,000 rise for veteran players, with a final figure of $8.84 million. Another six players - costing $300,000 - will be contracted outside the top 30-man squad as development players.

Furthermore, the NRL has offered up a final salary cap of $9.59 million but that figure is inflated by a raft of payments the NRL has proposed the salary cap must cover including $200,000 for insurance, $100,000 for funding the RLPA and $150,000 for welfare officers.

The RLPA's bid to have a fixed percentage of the game's revenue has also not been included in the NRL's proposal. RLPA boss Ian Prendergast was underwhelmed by the NRL's offer.

"The players have received the first formal offer from the NRL," Prendergast said.

"Unfortunately it fell significantly short of what the players were expecting based on the discussions we have had up until this point in the process. So, from that point of view it was disappointing, but we will go away now and consider that information in detail.

"We will then be in a position to develop the players' comprehensive proposal to take this great game forward.

"The players have made it clear that they are committed to a genuine partnership which is linked to a guaranteed share of game's revenue that reflects their contribution and value to the game. This collective agreement is also about so much more than the salary cap.

"Player well-being and education, transition support, and injury cover and insurance are among the other important areas that need to improved."

There has been no deadline set by the NRL, with a counter offer expected to come within weeks.

Prendergast was joined at Thursday's meeting with the NRL by Cronulla trio Wade Graham, Chad Townsend and James Maloney plus South Sydney's George Burgess. Maloney described the proposal as "underwhelming".

"The NRL proposal was underwhelming and its disappointing that they seem to be resisting a genuine partnership with the playing group," Maloney said.

"We see this approach as the best way to ensure players are incentivised to work with the NRL to grow the game. The playing group is one hundred percent united behind our association.

"We now look forward to delivering our proposal to the NRL and reaching a fair outcome for all parties."

News Corp Australia

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