Salford captain Ryan Brierley upbeat on player union progress with RFL

Salford Red Devils captain Ryan Brierley has said the advent of a new bespoke players' union for rugby league is moving closer to fruition.

Brierley and other high profile figures such as England captain George Williams and England prop Alex Walmsley have driven the push for recognition.

The GMB union currently offers support, but this union would be sport-specific.

"The discussion with the senior players is ongoing," Brierley told the 5 Live Rugby League podcast.

"The roles will be open, where certain people who want to apply to do certain roles, we can have a framework and a structure of a new association.

"It's quite exciting times at the moment, Alex is a big leader in it, while George as England captain - his voice is bigger than anyone's.

"It is looking really positive but what I will say is that it's the RFL's decision to accept us as well."

The buy-in from the Rugby Football League has been welcomed by the players, whose reactions to a number of law changes and amendments to the disciplinary system for 2024 onwards related to head-knocks helped prompt the push for union representation.

In Australia, the players' union is a strong-enough entity that they have secured a 'collective bargaining agreement' with the National Rugby League which are of benefit to their members.

These include contract protection measures, revenue share agreements and clarification of player property rights.

Players in Super League and beyond in the British league want to be given more input into decision-making with the governing body, as major stakeholders in the 'product'.

"They [the RFL] should be given great praise," Brierley added.

"Without their willingness to listen to us it wouldn't have got this far, so if we can get to the point where we're protecting our players, we can have a voice on certain things before they get brought in to play,

"A player's opinion is certainly worth hearing and listening to, and if we get to that point we'll be pretty happy."