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Gallen wants NRL's middle men paid

AAP logoAAP 1/12/2016 Matt Encarnacion

The man who was critical in looking after the NRL's battlers and the stars now believes it's time the middle men get some serious cash.

Senior NRL figure Paul Gallen was a critical contributor in the last collective bargaining agreement in 2014, but has opted not to weigh in on the latest negotiations.

But that hasn't stopped the Cronulla captain from speaking up for the game's average Joe to earn a bigger slice of the game's record $1.8 billion broadcast deal from 2018 onwards.

"The biggest thing back then was the minimum wage, getting security on minimum wage and also contract security. We managed to get both of them," Gallen told AAP.

The increase in salary cap, player safety and welfare, as well as personal development opportunities and a retirement fund are believed to be the biggest topics in current talks.

But Gallen insists there also needs to be more financial opportunities for players who are closer to earning bottom dollar than they are to matching it financially with the elite.

The 35-year-old believes the current $80,000 minimum wage is more than substantial, and that the big-money earners are also being adequately looked after.

"I think the biggest change has to be to the middle tier players. Guys who play week in, week out that are in the top 17 every week, that do their job every week.

"Some of these blokes are barely over minimum wage. Some bloke might be on $120k - they should be on way more than that.

"The minimum wage is good where it's at - you give any bloke that comes out of school $80k, it's a fair whack. You get paid that because your profile isn't as big as some of the others.

"The money going to the players at the top should stay as it is. They'll always command the biggest money. They've just got to work out how to get the blokes in the middle more money."

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