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Jackson Hastings latest to speak on controversial topic & in-depth analysis of core issues behind it

During the off-season, there has been a heated battle between the NRL and the Players Association (RLPA) led by former Hull KR star Clint Newton who is the president of the association.

This comes as the two try to reach a decision in CBA negotiations.

As these stalled, there was threat that clubs could break away and form a rebel league sparking a very real civil war in the sport akin to the Super League war in the late 1990s.

It was believed that once a salary cap increase was decided upon, that these tensions would subside but the opposite happened as the NRL confirmed the increased salary cap without the say so of the RLPA.

Now the players are responding by boycotting NRL events such as photoshoots.

“This action is being driven by the players,” a senior player told The Daily Telegraph.

“The NRL doesn’t understand how unhealthy the relationship is with both the men and women.

“This is not about pay. It’s about the way the NRL have lacked respect in negotiations.”

The season launch is now under threat as well as the wider promotion of the season’s start.

An NRL spokesman on Monday said: “We are aware of some players not participating in today’s club photo sessions with NRL staff. We are in ongoing discussions with the RLPA regarding these and other issues and look forward to an exciting 2023 season for our fans.”

Now Kurt Capewell has not ruled out strike action as he says players will “make a stand.”

“(The NRL) have belief if they wait it out long enough we’re just going to have to sign (but) we’re not going to stand here and cop it,” Capewell said to the Australian after training on Tuesday.

“We’re ready to draw a line in the sand and we’ll make a stand.

“We don’t want it to come to a player strike but if the NRL are going to sit on their heels and not budge, who knows where it’s going to go?

“But I’m sure they’ll be able to see we’re not happy and how connected we are.

“It’s the NRL’s strategy to paint a picture of us (as greedy), wave a shiny toy in our face and hope we’re silly enough to run into that CBA.

“There’s still so many parts that are nowhere near (acceptable) and we’re prepared to fight for what we think is fair.

“The CBA controls a lot more than just our salaries; we want a fair revenue share, a genuine seat at the table, and want to be heard.

“This isn’t about money, educate yourself by reading the thread below before making your own assumptions. We stand united.”

This comes as the RLPA outlined their demands for the new CBA in what are some very fair points on behalf of the players association.

Here is their demands:

Why? Because players are excluded from workers compensation legislation. In the current CBA players only have 12 months to have any surgeries and rehabilitation paid for that will help fix the injuries they suffered during their careers. The players want the game’s first Medical Support Fund to ensure past NRL and NRLW players can have these surgeries covered well into retirement.

Why? Because those players don’t have one and they deserve one. A CBA for women would provide the contract security players need and the full terms and conditions that would help protect them and their families. A CBA would give the game the best opportunity to attract and retain our talent.

Why? Because the average NRL career is less than 45 games. Making your way into the NRL and NRLW and building a career is tough, you need to be supported to make it happen. Players need better training wages, better minimum salaries, more contracts and contract certainty, match fees and transition benefits all to support players but specifically middle and lower-income earners.

Why? Because what the game does now is not enough. Players’ careers are getting shorter, and the game is faster and harder. It can all be over at any moment, and you don’t always get to choose when that moment is. We need to help NRL & NRLW players transition into life beyond the playing field.

Why? Because players need to agree to all core terms of employment. Once they are agreed, they shouldn’t be able to be changed again without the players’ agreement. Those are basic and common employment rights. Players should have them. Agreement rights include hours worked (obligations), number of matches played, wage structures, when players can secure a contract, pregnancy and parental policies, and fines (which are illegal in other workplaces).

Why? Because it needs to account for the additional eligible lavers (more than 250 across 10 women’s teams and The Dolphins) coming into the CBA model. It needs to be expanded to also support players who suffer serious injuries and can’t secure a new contract until fully rehabilitated.

Why? Because players, clubs and states generate the money for the game. It is reasonable for players to have a fair share of the revenue they bring in. If players help the game generate more money than it expects, they should get their fair share. That share isn’t just going into salaries. Players want it to fund new programs and benefits that will support current, future and past players.

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