The CBA negotiations down under over the NRL have been nothing short of a mess.
The negotiations threatened to burst into a civil war with a rebel league threatened by some clubs.
The salary cap remained unconfirmed for a long spell and when it was confirmed by the NRL it was done so without the Players Association’s (RLPA) confirmation.
Now RLPA board member and Melbourne Storm captain Christian Welch has slammed the whole process:
“It’s been a really frustrating process, which started 14 months ago when we got the ball rolling on requesting financial information from the NRL,” he told SEN radio on Thursday.
“There’s been a real lack of trust between the two parties, which has been really disappointing, and we’re really not close to an agreement at all.
“We’ve really been waiting to get to the table and build that relationship, but I don’t think they take the RLPA seriously.
“We just need the NRL to bring us on that journey … I just feel like there’s not a whole lot of respect for the RLPA, but hopefully we can build that relationship back up.
“I think with this CBA what gets lost is the non-financial things that we’re really working hard for – agreement rights, having trust in the RLPA being able to use the players’ money how it wants without having to go to the NRL.
“The financials are one thing and a big part of negotiations, but the rest of it, the terms of employment, has been a real struggle.
“We’re not asking for anything too unreasonable. We just want to get on with our jobs and play footy.”
Welch said he believed that NRLW players were the hardest hit by the delay.
“The women’s teams are the ones who are doing it particularly tough at the moment,” he said.
“None of them are able to sign any contracts, so if you get injured at training or at work, your chances of securing a contract are really small.”