Play­ers bunker in over claim for big­ger share of rev­enue pie

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PHIL ROTHFIELD MICHAEL CARAYANNIS DAVID RIC­CIO

THE NRL’s top play­ers hi­jacked the build- up to the State of Ori­gin de­cider yes­ter­day to es­ca­late their pay dis­pute with the gov­ern­ing body.

It came amid al­le­ga­tions play­ers stormed out of a meet­ing with the NRL ear­lier in the day in what could po­ten­tially mir­ror cricket’s bit­ter fall­out.

The NRL claimed Jamie Buhrer, Ai­dan Guerra, Moses Mbye, James Sege­yaro and Joel Thomp­son were among the 10 play­ers who stormed out of a meet­ing be­tween the Rugby League Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and NRL chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Nick Weeks yes­ter­day.

The NRL wrote to the 16 clubs yes­ter­day say­ing the meet­ing “ended pre­ma­turely when the RLPA left the meet­ing due to the NRL not agree­ing to pro­vide the play­ers with a rev­enue share model”.

The email also said it was a “a pre­de­ter­mined tac­tic de­signed to turn up the heat on the NRL and clubs”.

RLPA boss Ian Pren­der­gast has ac­cused the NRL of run­ning a pro­pa­ganda cam­paign.

“Play­ers did not stage a walk­out at the meet­ing,” Pren- der­gast said. “In fact, they dis­cussed the mer­its of their re­vised pro­posal at length and worked through all the items on the agenda.

“Play­ers are dis­ap­pointed with the on­go­ing leak­ing of mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion that has oc­curred through­out the process. The pub­lic de­serve the truth, par­tic­u­larly given the im­por­tance of th­ese dis­cus­sions to the fu­ture of rugby league.”

The con­jec­ture stems from the RLPA’s de­sire to have a fixed rev­enue share of 29 per cent. The NRL has kept firm on its plans not to com­mit to a fixed rev­enue share.

Aus­tralian cricket is on the verge of im­plod­ing as its play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion and gov­ern­ing body also wage war – with the main gripe the play­ers’ de­sire to main­tain a fixed rev­enue share.

NRL boss Todd Green­berg said he was happy to be part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions de­spite be­ing sin­gled out by Aus­tralian and Ma­roons skip­per Cameron Smith for miss­ing the meet­ings.

Green­berg said it was his in­ten­tion to at­tend the CBA talks when they reached a crit­i­cal stage. That stage may now come sooner than Green­berg had an­tic­i­pated.

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

IM­ME­DI­ATE IM­PACT: Townsville Black­hawks player Jor­dan Drew puts a hit on Norths Dev­ils half­back Gary Ric­cardi at Jack Man­ski Oval last Sun­day.

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