Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The NRL and its players dispute over pay following the reveal of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is ongoing and could be set to escalate.
It is the belief of the league’s playing group that the 2023 salary cap is not large enough for each club despite being increased by 25% compared to last season as they will be receiving a lower revenue share than they did in the 2022 CBA.
As a result of this the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks boycotted an NRL photoshoot and interview opportunity on Monday and it seems there could be more to come.
Brisbane Broncos forward Kurt Capewell has spoken to The Daily Telegraph’s Travis Meyn about the CBA dispute and has confirmed that the players are prepared to continue boycotting events and possibly games if this issue is not resolved.
“If the NRL are going to sit on their heels and not budge, then who knows where it’s going to go,” said Capewell.
“The way I see it is there hasn’t been enough discussion.
“The NRL have come back with another, what we believe, very unfair proposition for a CBA.
“We’ve had enough of sitting at a table and not being heard.
“As players, we don’t want it to get to that (strike).
“We love the game and would never want to not see it on the TV screens and letting the fans down.
“As players, we’re all united in taking a stand, but I’m sure the NRL can finally come to the party and negotiate a fair CBA to make sure it doesn’t hinder our game.
“Until they’re willing to negotiate, we’re ready to draw a line in the sand and will make a stand.
“That (boycotts) is something as a playing group we’ve all decided to do.
“Hopefully it grabs the NRL’s attention and shows we’re not happy.”
If Capewell’s threats towards the NRL ring true then this could be disastrous for the 2023 NRL seasons with games bound to have to be rescheduled or played with weaker teams being fielded.
Unfortunately, this situation has been allowed to grow to these heights so for the good of Rugby League in Australia, hopefully the NRL and its players can reach an understanding before the season commences under two months.