Bumper Christmas bonus for NRL players

    The 2023 salary cap has been set at $12.1 million, up from $9.6 million, which is a 25 per cent increase on season 2022.The news was met with ‘surprise’ by the Rugby League Players Association, who labelled the NRL ‘disrespectful’ for publicly revealing the salary cap before players had the chance to approve the latest proposal.In a statement, RLPA chair Dr Deidre Anderson AM said they received a financial proposal that did not provide any salary cap details on Wednesday and it was not ‘appropriate for the players to be rushed into agreeing to a financial proposal two days before Christmas’.The RLPA also claimed clubs were also not provided with salary cap details.But sources with knowledge of the negotiations said clubs had been informed of the new pay details during the week.ARLC chairman Peter V’landys told The Daily Telegraph Friday’s announcement was crucial to providing clubs with certainty while wider Collective Bargaining Agreement talks are ongoing.“We wanted certainty, the players and the clubs wanted certainty. We’ve given certainty and we’ll continue to negotiate the terms in good faith as we’ve said. I’m surprised that any association wouldn’t welcome with open arms such a significant increase to their members,” V’landys said. Under the announcement, players with a ratchet clause in their contract will also receive an 18 per cent increase to their playing fee, which will be backdated to November 1.Clubs that signed players effective from November 1 had been operating on the old cap, and the ratchet clause allows those players to be back paid now the salary cap is finalised.“A lot of players have a ratchet clause in their contract because their contract actually started from the 1st of November, so what it means they’ll get back paid from the 1st of November under those ratchet clauses, so it’s a good Christmas bonus for them,” V’landys said. “We want to make sure we do it before Christmas, we just needed certainty for the clubs in order to do their rosters and we needed certainty for the players when they are negotiating with clubs.“We had to announce this to keep the game moving forward.”The new salary cap is set to trigger a domino effect in the player market with a number of contract negotiations stuck in a holding pattern while the cap was finalised.Players in limbo, like Parramatta’s Nathan Brown, who has given permission to negotiate with rival clubs, had a secret meeting with new Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens last month.But it’s believed the Concord club had not been able to table the Eels forward an official offer over uncertainty surrounding the salary cap in 2023.If Brown does agree to terms with the Tigers his move could have a knock-on effect across the game.It’s understood the cap space freed by Brown’s move to the Tigers could open up an opportunity for former Sea Eagles forward Martin Taupau, who is unsigned for 2023, to join the Eels.At the Sydney Roosters, Matt Lodge’s contract extension had been signed but not registered because of constraints under the 2022 salary cap.Under Friday‘s announcement, top-30 players will earn a total of $11.45 million, up 22 per cent from the 2022 salary cap.Rising players are also set for an increase with the development player list increasing to $650,000 from 2023.The minimum salary for all male players in a club’s top-30 NRL squad will grow to $120,000.The game’s female players will also receive a financial boost with the NRLW salary cap increasing by 153% to $884,000.The Daily Telegraph understands a minimum wage has not yet been set for the NRLW, which will increase to 10 teams in 2023, but that will be a major focus when CBA talks resume in mid January.While protracted CBA negotiations between the NRL and Rugby League Players Association will spill into the new year, V’landys is hopeful both parties can come to an agreement.“We believe we are not that far apart on some of the issues. We are hoping by mid-January, after the break we can finalise the whole new CBA,” V’landys said.The new CBA deal will run from season 2023 until the end of season 2027.

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