NRL players want action on new agreement

Rugby League Players Association board member Christian Welch says negotiations with the NRL over the collective bargaining agreement remain frustratingly slow, despite the 2023 season looming.

The Melbourne captain hopes the parties will take a step forward on Friday, with Australian Rugby League Committee chairman Peter V'Landys expected to send over the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) "terms and conditions" to the players' union.

An initial deadline of October 2022 is long gone, with Welch saying the process demonstrates a lack of respect for players by the NRL.

"It's been a really frustrating process, which started 14 months ago when we got the ball rolling on requesting financial information from the NRL," he told SEN radio on Thursday.

"There's been a real lack of trust between the two parties, which has been really disappointing, and we're really not close to an agreement at all.

"We've really been waiting to get to the table and build that relationship, but I don't think they take the RLPA seriously.

"We just need the NRL to bring us on that journey ... I just feel like there's not a whole lot of respect for the RLPA, but hopefully we can build that relationship back up."

Despite CBA negotiations with the RLPA stalling, the NRL announced in late December they had signed off on the new salary-cap deal for clubs, increasing the cap from $9.6 million in 2022 to $12.1 million this year.

Welch said player demands weren't purely about money.

"I think with this CBA what gets lost is the non-financial things that we're really working hard for - agreement rights, having trust in the RLPA being able to use the players' money how it wants without having to go to the NRL,'' he said.

"The financials are one thing and a big part of negotiations, but the rest of it, the terms of employment, has been a real struggle.

"We're not asking for anything too unreasonable. We just want to get on with our jobs and play footy."

Welch said NRLW players were hardest hit by the delay.

"The women's teams are the ones who are doing it particularly tough at the moment,'' he said.

"None of them are able to sign any contracts, so if you get injured at training or at work, your chances of securing a contract are really small."