Clubs fear $500k loss on NRLW teams

NRL clubs have written to head office fearing they will be $500,000 out of pocket by participating in next year's expanded NRLW under current funding proposals.

The NRL, clubs and players' union remain at loggerheads over the collective bargaining agreement as talks go on beyond the October 31 deadline.

As things stand, all 17 NRL clubs are unsure what funding they will receive for next year while the Rugby League Players' Association and head office have not finalised several key issues.

But the women's game also remains an issue.

AAP has been told that the women's salary cap will likely rise from $350,000 to up to $800,000, as part of their first-ever inclusion in the CBA.

Funding for the 10 clubs with NRLW sides will go from $450,000 to $1.2 million, representing 150 per cent of the salary cap.

However clubs fear the extended nature of the season will leave them short, with four new teams being added and the competition going to at least 11 weeks.

Clubs will therefore be required to hire new administration and football staff as opposed to sharing with the men's as they have done in the past.

As such, there are concerns that the deficit for running an NRLW team will blow out from around $250,000 in the 2022 season to $500,000 next year even with more funding.

All 10 clubs with NRLW sides have written to the NRL requesting more money so that they are able to break even, but fear it will not be forthcoming.

"We're very happy to ensure that we uphold and be the leading standard," A CEO from a non-Sydney club told AAP.

"But we need to make sure that we get a fair amount of funding to be able to ensure that it occurs.

"The women's game has got so much opportunity, but we need to make sure that we resource it correctly.

"And the only way we can resource it is with ensuring that we're getting funding to make it sustainable."

Clubs also claim that, had the league expanded to eight teams in 2023 as initially proposed, there would be a greater slice of funding for each team given there is no extra television money for more games with the league sold at cost price.

The NRL on Friday insisted they were working towards a deal after first introducing funding for women's clubs in 2020.

"We are actively working with clubs on the NRLW funding model," a spokesman said.

"Nothing has been finalised.

"All stakeholders are investing and ensuring sustainability for clubs is a priority for the NRL, which will include a distribution to clubs well above the salary cap."

The scenario is one of several holding up negotiations between the players, clubs and the league, leaving teams without a clear budget for the 2023 season.

All three parties are close to aligned on a salary cap of around $10.4 million, but several supplementary issues such as welfare, education, transfer models, illicit drugs policy and pay for players outside top-30 squads remain unresolved.