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Footy's back, but what if the season starts and no players turn up?


The NRL Pre-Season Challenge is set to be disrupted with industrial action by players unless the governing body adheres to certain requirements by Thursday.

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AAP has been told NRL and NRLW players resolved at a ‘Leaders in League’ conference held by the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) in Sydney last week to cover NRL logos, delay kick-offs and implement external media bans at NRL Pre-Season Challenge games as part of “increased activations” to get their differences resolved.

The two-round NRL Pre-Season Challenge kicks off on Thursday night in Auckland with the clash between the Warriors and Wests Tigers.

The players want the NRL and RLPA to come to an agreement in certain key areas this week including financial and non-financial matters, but it mostly relates to the NRLW competition.

The RLPA has made the NRL aware that agreement on “the NRLW salary cap, policies inside the CBA and RLPA autonomy” need to be achieved.

The recent conference involved getting feedback from players and workshopping strategies between themselves, so they could reach a collective agreement and then put pressure on the NRL to agree to it.

Of chief concern, as revealed by Melbourne Storm’s RLPA delegate Christian Welch this week, was female players “have no clarity on their CBA or their financial model”.

“It’s unacceptable,” Welch said.

“They can’t sign contracts, they’re not training, they’re really in limbo to be honest.”

There were approximately 70 players from the NRL and NRLW at the Sydney conference which was attended by NRL CEO Andrew Abdo, who addressed players.

AAP has spoken to several female and male players who are determined to see the industrial action to the end.

Shaun Lane, an RLPA delegate for Parramatta, said this week strike action could be the only solution.

“I guess if it does get to that point then we will be willing to do whatever’s necessary,” he said.

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