NRLW at serious risk of not happening in 2023, per chairman and star player

Reports from Australia are revealing that the freshly expanded NRLW may not get underway or exist for the 2023 season with one chairman particularly strong in this belief.

In the ongoing talks the main issue is revolving around the Collective Bargaining Agreement which is effectively the contract between the players and the league, and in particular it’s the lack of player protection post playing career that’s been a sticking point.

As for the NRLW it seems their CBA negotiations are even further delayed and there are far more difficulties considering that the competition is expanding this year.

It had been suggested that the women’s Super League in England could lose players to the NRLW given it’s 152% salary cap increase but without a CBA or even the security of teams playing in 2023, those concerns have dampened.

They’re still very real for the players already based in the NRLW though and Wests Tigers chairman, Lee Hagipantelis, has declared that negotiations are reaching a “point of no return”, per SEN Radio in Australia.

Wests are set to be one of the teams that expand into the NRLW but Hagipentalis is concerned going forward.

Speaking to SEN Radio, he said: “We’re reaching a critical stage, there’s no doubt. These negotiations have been going for quite some time now.

“It’s reaching the point of no return. If it continues on like this with this degree of uncertainty, it may put the NRLW at risk for 2023. I know that’s a big call.

“But at the moment, the lack of information that’s coming to us as to the signing of players, scheduling and the like is making it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for us to further that program.”

So for the NRL bosses whilst the men’s game is the larger money spinner and the prize product it could be a case of huge embarrassment if they fail to make good on their expansion in the NRLW, even more so if the league collapses as a whole for 2023.

Australian international Ali Brigginshaw has also weighed in saying the women and men are both supporting each other but she remains fearful to train in case of an injury, because without a CBA she’s unclear as to who would pay for medical treatment.

“We just need contracts so we can go and prepare for the NRLW season because right now we don’t have that,” she told SEN Radio.

“I haven’t been on a field since the World Cup final because I don’t want to risk injury.

“We are so far behind. Every year it’s like this. Then a week or two before we’re about to start we actually get things sorted and that causes immense pressure.

“We’ve already got to juggle jobs to play rugby league, let alone fight every battle and then to be given what you get is not good enough. This is why we need a CBA so we can get rid of that stress.”

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