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RLPA want NRL to come to party on CBA

NZN 4/06/2017 Scott Bailey and Steve Zemek

The rugby league players' union is hopeful of striking a pay deal with the NRL and has implored them to open their books.

The Rugby League Players Association and the governing body on Monday met in Sydney to begin two-day talks to reach a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

RLPA board member Jeremy Latimore said the NRL needed to come to the table as both parties aim to resolve the impasse over player payments.

RLPA general president and Australian captain Cameron Smith refused to rule out strike action if the issue wasn't resolved by the end of the season and Latimore said it was vital the saga was resolved quickly.

"This is the first real two days of these conversations," Cronulla forward Latimore said.

"If they come to the party, maybe we'll get a lot closer.

"We want the NRL to get behind that and come out with their books so we can see everything and move forward and get the deal done."

Latimore said players were more united than ever on the issue but a strike hadn't been discussed.

At the heart of the issue is the players' demands for a share of the game's revenue and a $9.1 million salary cap across a 26-man roster while the NRL has proposed an $8.3 million cap for 30 players.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg vowed on Saturday to gradually increase player payments by 45 per cent over the life of the next television deal, between 2018 and 2022.

The governing body said it had made $350.4 million in revenue last year but spent $353 million on growing the game, including a total of $160.2 million on clubs and players.

Smith had questioned the NRL's management of funds, after suggestions from the league that the RLPA's requests would not fit within the game's budget.

But Latimore said he was eager to view the game's finances and how they would change in 2018 with the game's richest broadcast deal kicking in.

"They released the figures but we didn't know where the money was going," Latimore said.

"It just threw out a whole lot of numbers - it was like a year one maths class."

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