Skip to main content

Posted by RLPA

April 02, 2024

Three player leaders join RLPA Board

The Rugby League Players Association is pleased to announce Dale Finucane, Felise Kaufusi and Chad Townsend joined the RLPA Board as player Directors at the 2024 Annual General Meeting.

Dr. Deidre Anderson AM was also re-elected as Chair for a second term, a position she has held since 2019. The 2024 RLPA AGM was held on Wednesday March 27.

Two-time Dennis Tutty Award recipient Wade Graham stepped away from the Board at the AGM following his retirement from professional rugby league in 2023 and the end of his tenure.

Before joining the RLPA Board, Dale, Felise and Chad were members of the Player Advisory Group and will maintain their positions on that Group during their tenures as player Directors.

“I am truly honoured to join the RLPA Board,” said Chad Townsend. “The RLPA is an organisation that represents players. When I think of the RLPA I think of a collective and united playing group.”

“I have been lucky enough to play the game for 14 years now and I have seen the RLPA evolve and only grow and get stronger every year. I am a player and I love the players and I will always stand up for the players, so this means a lot to me.

“The recent joint CBA for NRL and NRLW players is a testament to the progress we’ve made in prioritising the rights, terms and conditions for players. The increased investment in player welfare, wellbeing, and postcareer and transition support reflects our collective efforts to ensure that players are supported both during and after their playing careers. I’m excited to contribute as a Director to build upon these achievements and drive positive change for players, the game and the broader rugby league community.”

On his appointment to the RLPA Board, Dale Finucane thanked the players for trusting him to take up the position of Director.

“Being appointed to the RLPA Board is both a privilege and a responsibility and I am proud to become a Director and excited to get started,” said Dale.

“As players, we understand the challenges and opportunities that come with our sport. The recent joint-CBA is a huge milestone in our ongoing efforts to improve conditions, support and opportunities for NRL and NRLW players. I’m eager to work collaboratively with my fellow Directors to uphold the values of professionalism, courage, fairness and respect that underpin the RLPA.”

Felise Kaufusi, who becomes the first Tongan international to join the RLPA Board, spoke of his pride in becoming a Director.

“Becoming a Director on the RLPA Board is an important step in my journey of continuing to advocate for the rights and welfare of rugby league players,” said Felise.

“The long form CBA is a landmark achievement in our collective pursuit of a fairer, more supportive, and more accountable working environment for players. The improved remuneration and conditions for players, as well as expanded opportunities for NRLW players, are big strides forward for players.

“I am committed to championing the interests of players and working to build upon the successes of the recent joint CBA agreement.”

Quotes from RLPA Chair Dr. Deidre Anderson AM

“I am deeply honoured to have been re-elected as Chair of the RLPA Board. Having served as Chair since 2019, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact rugby league can make when players’ needs and rights are at the heart of decision-making. This experience has fuelled my determination to continue advocating for players and their welfare and harnessing the knowledge and expertise they possess to help progress the game of rugby league.”

“My tenure as Chair has been marked by remarkable advancements and meaningful change for players, including the first collective bargaining agreement for NRLW players, a first long-form CBA, and the first genuine revenue share agreement for players. There is, however, still much work to be done and I am inspired by the resilience and dedication of rugby league players, and I am committed to building upon our achievements so far.”

“On behalf of the RLPA, I would like to congratulate Dale, Felise and Chad on joining the RLPA Board as Directors. All three players have been members of our influential and critical Player Advisory Group for several years and played crucial roles in the way the RLPA successfully navigated the CBA negotiations last year.

“Additionally, Felise has outstanding and unique knowledge of the international game and will be indispensable in bringing forward the views of the Pasifika players who make up a large portion of our total membership.

“All three players possess strong decision-making skills, have excellent convictions in believing what is best for the players and game, and a keen understanding of the industry and the nuances that exist. I have no doubt they will serve the Board brilliantly as Directors.

“I would also like to thank Wade for his enormous contributions to the players and rugby league during his time on the RLPA Board. Wade has been a willing and remarkably capable Director since he joined the Board in 2019 and the dedication he gave to the CBA negotiations will never be forgotten. He was the first two-time winner of the Dennis Tutty Award, both of which he thoroughly deserved, and he leaves behind an almighty legacy for the players. We wish you all the best in your post-career, Wade.”

RLPA Board

Dr. Deidre Anderson AM (Chair)
Daly Cherry-Evans (General President)
Clint Newton OAM (Managing Director)
Dale Finucane
Tim Gordon
Steve Harker AM
Josh Hodgson
Felise Kaufusi
Chelsea Lenarduzzi
Hannah Southwell
Chad Townsend

Partner Promotion

Visit our Partners