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Posted by RLPA

April 05, 2016

Review and restructure delivers for Players

The Rugby League Players Association has finalised the CBA mid-term review, delivering $2.7M plus additional benefits to support the Playing Group. 

“The Players’ detailed submission was considered by the ARLC at it’s recent meeting and we’re pleased the Commissioners agreed to support the Playing Group in a number of areas,” said RLPA CEO, Ian Prendergast. 

“An allocation of $1.2million will go into the Player retirement accounts while $1.5 million will fund resources, programs and operations to support the Playing Group by increasing the capability of the RLPA,” said Prendergast.

“A number of other outcomes were achieved including additional leave entitlements, a joint review of workloads and scheduling and recognition of the Players’ right to have a voice in deciding the direction and future of the Game.”

RLPA General President, Clint Newton says the financial boost will have a significant impact on the Association’s capacity to deliver outcomes for Players.

“I believe we are on our way to ensuring the empowerment of our Players while enabling the RLPA to develop into the most successful Players Association and Rugby League to become the most successful sport in Australia,” said Newton.

“A strong Association is nothing to be feared,” said RLPA Director and Parramatta Eels co-captain Tim Mannah. “We all want what’s best for the Game and we are now in a position where we can prove that.”

Australian, Queensland and Melbourne Storm captain, Cameron Smith welcomed the increased capability of the Association. 

“It’s great that the RLPA is now in a position to suitably represent us as a collective. I look forward to what we can now achieve – not only for Players but the game of Rugby League in the future,” said Smith.

Johnathan Thurston, the North Queensland Cowboys captain and four time RLPA Players Player medallist, says Players were only ever looking for a fair outcome. 

“While we didn’t get everything we wanted, we can now be better organised than we’ve ever been to protect the interests of Players, deliver improved outcomes for the Game and prepare to negotiate the next CBA,” said Thurston. 

RLPA Director and Cronulla Sharks player, James Maloney, believes there is strong support across the Game for all Players to be fairly compensated.

“We are the ones putting our bodies on the line week-in-week-out and our performances on the field drive the Game’s revenue,” said Maloney. “Our goal is to ensure we receive our fair share of that revenue.”

“There’s a genuine excitement and a real sense of unity amongst the Playing Group about what the future holds off the back of this result,” said Rabbitohs’ front rower and Association Director, George Burgess.

Whilst the CBA discussions were ongoing the RLPA also conducted an internal review of its operations and role in the Game. As a result, the Association is undergoing a restructure and has developed a new Vision and Strategic Plan.

“The review identified the need to bolster our governance framework and to do that we’ve worked with Boomerang Partners and through our networks to establish an impeccably credentialed group of professionals to form the RLPA Advisory Board,” said Prendergast. “They are all leaders of industry across key areas relevant to Players.”

Wests Tigers’ Dene Halatau, also an RLPA Director, says the Advisory Board will play an important role in the Association.

“Our values of professionalism, fairness, courage and respect, together with the support of additional staff and the Advisory Board will guide our decision making and help our professional development,” said Halatau.

The Advisory Board members are:

  • Russell Adams (Legal) – Principal Consultant, Russell Adams Consulting

  • Deidre Anderson (Education and Wellbeing) – Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University

  • David Gyngell (Media) –  Non Executive Director, Nine Entertainment Co.

  • Pippa Leary (Commercial) – CEO, APEX Advertising

  • Joseph Sponholz (Strategy) – Principal, Head of the Global Professional Sports Practice, Partners in Performance

  • Tony Thomas (Marketing) – Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, NOVA Entertainment

“I am proud to support the RLPA,” said Gyngell. “Past, present and future Players are the core of this great community and ensuring their wellbeing is paramount to ensure the continued growth of the Game.” 

“The players are the most important asset in Rugby League and I look forward to contributing to their ongoing success both in sport and life,” said Anderson emphasising Player wellbeing must be the priority.

The restructure has also seen changes within the RLPA operations structure. Clint Newton will this week be appointed to the executive team in the role of General Manager, Player Relations.

Newton was elected to the role of General President by the Players in 2013 and again in 2015 and currently represents the Playing Group on the NRL Rules Committee.

“Clint is highly respected in Rugby League circles and has an intimate knowledge of the operations of the RLPA,” said Prendergast. “As a recently retired Player he is also uniquely qualified to work with industry stakeholders and advocate changes to achieve improvements for Players and the Game. 

Newton will step down from his role as General President at the next Annual General Meeting to allow the election of a current player to that role.

A General Counsel is one of five additional roles being recruited including two additional Player Engagement Managers who will liaise with Players to identify issues that affect individuals and/or the collective Playing Group. 

“Our team will work closely with stakeholders to complement existing programs and resources and to secure the best possible outcomes for Players in all circumstances,” said Prendergast. 

“It’s an exciting time for the Association and for the Game and we look forward to the future growth and success of both,” said Prendergast.  

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