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RLPA want NRL to come to the CBA party

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/06/2017 Scott Bailey

Rugby League Players Association board member Jeremy Latimore is confident the game can move closer to a Collective Bargaining Agreement deal this week, but only if the NRL come to the party.

Representatives from the NRL and the RLPA began a two-day meeting in Sydney on Monday, as both parties aim to solve the ongoing feud.

Latimore will join the discussions on Tuesday, but said at Cronulla training on Monday it was vital the saga was resolved quickly.

"This is the first real two days of these conversations," 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."

The meetings come a week after RLPA general president and Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith refused to rule out strike action if the issue wasn't resolved by the end of the season.

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

At the heart of the issue remains the players' push for a revenue sharing model, which would include a base salary cap of $9.1 million next season before long-serving player and car allowances are added.

It's believed the NRL have offered a figure below that mark in their response, but 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.

Greenberg's comments came as the NRL revealed its spend in 2016, which included an extra $2.6 million on what the game made in revenue and a total of $160.2 million to clubs and players.

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

But Latimore said he was eager to seek clarity on how it 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.

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

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