League players want solution now to salary cap woes

IMPATIENCE is growing from both players and the ARL Commission over contractual agreements for next season and beyond.

Talk of some players boycotting the February 9 Indigenous All Stars v All Stars pre-season fixture is growing louder, with the commission holding genuine fears this could happen.

Commission powerbrokers insist they are doing everything they can to strike up a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will please both parties.

More talks are scheduled Wednesday as the players strive for a $6.5 million salary cap, increased from $5 million, to be brought in from next year, including a minimum wage of $80,000.

Both parties will not budge, with the commission sticking by its commitment to a $225 million future fund, which will allow the NRL to compete with the popularity of the AFL.

Reports surfaced yesterday that ARLC chairman John Grant will set next year's salary cap should a new CBA not be struck by February.

And a spokesman yesterday re-affirmed the commission's stance, but said it is working hard to please both the players and ensure the game's future is a prosperous one.

"I don't want to speculate on anything," the spokesman said.

"It's clear the future fund is an important part of growing the game and achieving our strategic goals.

"We are working on a CBA that will benefit both sides."

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen did not rule out the chance of an All Stars boycott going ahead, but said that would be a last resort.

"We understand we're the product - we're the ones running out on the field putting our bodies on the line every week and all we want is our fair share," he told Fox Sports.

"(But) it's too big an event for the community, especially the Aboriginal people.

"I'm one to never say never, but I highly doubt there'll be an All Star boycott."

Topics:  rugby league salary cap

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