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Smith: We want to work in partnership

Mon, 29 May 2017

Senior NRL players have today voiced their disappointment with the misinformation provided to NRL Clubs regarding the RLPA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal.

RLPA General President Cameron Smith spoke to the media this morning in response to the leaked memorandum from the game's administraion, echoing the frustrations from fellow senior players Cooper Cronk, Tim Mannah and Adam Blair overnight.

Smith’s strong comments highlighted the fact that the players stand united behind the RLPA’s proposal, which aims to help the game prosper in the future by having the Players, Clubs and NRL work together in a genuine partnership.

“The playing group and the RLPA, we’re not going to disappear,” Smith said at the Queensland press conference today. “We are not going to run away with our tails between our legs.

“We are a patient group and we believe that we have put forward a balanced proposal to the NRL, which both parties can benefit from – not only the players and the NRL, but the Clubs, the fans and the members.

“We want to grow the game and we believe the proposal we have given to the NRL can do that and we want to work in partnership with them – not against them.

“We don’t think we are sticking our hand in for a cash grab for the players at all because the framework that we have presented the NRL is that if the game grows, then the players and the Club benefit from that.

“If it doesn’t grow and goes backwards, then so does the players’ share of the pie.

“I think the NRL have spoken to Clubs and given an idea to the public that it’s not the case; which is a little bit unfortunate given the approach that the players and the RLPA have taken.”

Smith emphasised the playing group’s disappointment, particularly considering the RLPA's commitment to a values based approach and negotiating in good faith.

“I must admit that the NRL players are a little bit unhappy with the way the NRL have approached the discussions,” he said. “We have entered with open arms and wanted to be a part of the game moving forward but the NRL have taken a different line which is very disappointing."

RLPA CEO Ian Prendergast stated in a press release yesterday that the players remain committed to negotiating in good faith with the NRL.

“The players remain steadfast in their commitment securing a genuine partnership with the NRL and Clubs, including securing a guaranteed fair share of the game's revenue,” Mr Prendergast said.

“The RLPA’s proposal ensures players are incentivised to protect and grow the game by sharing in both the downside and any upside that is achieved by working together.

“We look forward to discussing and clarifying the details of the players' proposals at the upcoming bargaining sessions that have been scheduled.”

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