RLPA boss says players open to NRL late season finish and Origin delay

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NRL players will be willing to play as many games as possible in 2020 to fulfil the wishes of broadcasters, according to the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).

The NRL’s revised season format will likely be known by the middle of next week, with Friday’s Project Apollo meeting now pushed back until then.

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Broadcast deals delay Apollo

NRL: James Hooper joined the Fox League Live panel to announce that tomorrow’s Apollo meeting has been postponed due to ongoing broadcast negotiations.

That will allow broadcast talks to have wrapped up in time, with some potential negotiations with Nine and Foxtel could be complete as soon as Friday.

It’s expected the regular season will be anywhere from 15 to 22 rounds, plus a State of Origin series played either late in the season or after the finals.

“Players are fully committed to try and maximise the current agreement and fulfil their obligations,” RLPA chief Clint Newton said.

“Playing 22 rounds and an Origin series and finals and Test matches is something players are all wanting to achieve.


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“But again it’s going to come down to desires from broadcasters.”

Nine has the rights to the Twenty20 World Cup in October and November, which could impact on the network’s desire to have the regular season or finals run too late.

No decision on whether that competition will go ahead is expected until August.

Meanwhile, Newton said he had no concerns over the players’ ability to perform in Origin late in the year if the three-match showpiece is scheduled after the grand final.

RLPA General Manager of Player and Football Operations Clint Newton.Source:Getty Images

There has previously been an argument that players would be burnt out before the representative matches come around, with Origin always previously scheduled mid- season.

But Newton said he would put his faith in interim chief executive Andrew Abdo to decide, given his experience as a chief commercial officer and expertise on what will sell best.

“I think you would suggest based on historical behaviour of the players, it doesn’t matter when (Origin) is,” Newton said.

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“They will be up for it.

“That will be all part of the discussions with broadcasters about trying to maximise revenue and trying to maximise the chance for fans to participate in that.” Clubs are eagerly awaiting the outcome of broadcast discussions, given they will affect the value of the reworked season and what their grants will be. Those decisions are likely to have an impact on future salary caps, particularly if an extended deal is reached.

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ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has previously indicated he would like the salary cap to remain close to its current figure and players have been promised a voice on any of those decisions.

There is a feeling that the coronavirus crisis has prompted a more collaborative approach between players and head office, which is a far cry from where things were during the previous pay negotiations.

Originally published asRLPA boss says players open to NRL late season finish and Origin delay

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