The NRL is set to reject the players’ union’s final settlement proposal in rugby league’s bitter pay war, dashing the Rugby League Players’ Association’s hopes of a deal before next Wednesday’s Origin series opener in Adelaide.
Relations between the NRL and the RLPA hit a new low on Wednesday, as club bosses pulled out of a meeting with the game’s stars, including Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans, who had left the Maroons’ State of Origin camp to attend the talks.
Earlier in the day, club bosses had been invited to a teleconference with NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo in which they were briefed on the likelihood that head office would push back on the latest and final offer from the players’ union.
It emerged hours later that club representatives had withdrawn their attendance from a similar meeting with RLPA player delegates, who had wanted to explain their last submission.
Cherry-Evans even took time out from the Maroons’ Origin preparations in a bid to explain the players’ stance to club officials.
According to sources speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the confidential nature of the talks, the NRL told club officials it believed the RLPA had added several items to its settlement proposal that had not been genuinely negotiated in talks.
The RLPA insists its submission was made in good faith.
The players’ union still planned to hold a meeting between player directors Cherry-Evans, Wade Graham and Christian Welch on Wednesday night. Player delegates from the 17 NRL clubs also were due to attend.