NRL players want say in rules review

·2-min read

Rugby league's biggest names have called on the NRL to give them a greater say in rule changes, demanding a seat at the league's end-of-season review.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Rugby League Players' Association also opposed a proposed increase in fines of up to $125,000 for male players.

It comes after a season of ongoing feuds between the NRL and the RLPA, and the first joint meeting of the men's and women's Player Advisory Groups.

The group includes Daly Cherry-Evans, Wade Graham, Christian Welch, Damien Cook, Josh Hodgson, Ali Brigginshaw, Kezie Apps and Millie Boyle.

The call for a greater say in rules comes after player discontent over several changes made in the past two years amid claims of not being consulted.

That even prompted reports of a player revolt against chairman Peter V'landys after the NRL disagreed fatigue was a factor in the increase of foul play as a result to the rule changes.

Though the revolt was downplayed by the RLPA, they remain frustrated only two players sit on the NRL's innovation committee while also lacking a voice in the now-dismantled competition committee.

"The process for rule changes throughout the 2021 season is of significant concern for the playing group," the statement read.

"These decisions were made without the RLPA directly involved, which deprived the process of the collective feedback from those with intimate on-field knowledge and those most impacted by the changes.

"It is vital that the RLPA is directly involved in any review of the 2021 season, allowing the views of those who actively participated to be heard.

"It is expected that the RLPA's involvement in both rule review and implementation be a prerequisite moving forward."

The group also claimed the push for an increase in the maximum fine from $50,000 to $125,000 to fix player behaviour was "inconsistent with other Australian and New Zealand sporting codes".

As revealed by AAP in June, the RLPA also remain steadfast in their push for a CBA for women's players.

It's understood the NRL is in support of that option, after the topic wasn't raised in the most recent negotiations in 2017.

In turn, the union also want better financial security for NRLW players ahead of a busy 2022 which will include two competitions.

Relations between the players' union and NRL remain stretched over the postponement of the women's competition this season.

Several key players have criticised the communication of the league while head office is adamant at least 30 per cent of the playing group were not willing to relocate for the competition this year in a three-month hub.

Players were given a COVID relief payment of $3500 on top of their salaries this month, worth more than $500,000 for the season.

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