League: Players to get $24,000 for league tests

By Michael Brown

Collective bargaining deal sees payments rise to A$30,000 for Origin games and A$50,000 for World Cup win.

Frank Pritchard of the Kiwis is tackled during the ANZAC Test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis. Photo / Getty Images
Frank Pritchard of the Kiwis is tackled during the ANZAC Test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis. Photo / Getty Images

The prospect of playing international league just got more appealing for New Zealand's top talent, with players set to earn A$20,000 ($24,000) for every one-off test against Australia under a new collective bargaining agreement.

It represents a big jump from the previous agreement, which saw players from both the Kiwis and Kangaroos earn A$9000 for last year's Anzac test.

This paled in comparison with match payments of A$20,000 for State of Origin games, although Origin remains the most lucrative form of representative football with payments jumping to A$30,000 for each match.

"In looking at representative payments, there was a desire to emphasise the importance of test football but also to acknowledge the contribution State of Origin players and State of Origin makes to the game," Rugby League Players' Association chief executive David Garnsey said.

Player payments for the World Cup and Four Nations have also doubled and remain incentivised.

Players in the winning side will earn A$50,000, with payments dropping to A$40,000 for second and A$30,000 for third - previously these were A$25,000, A$20,000 and A$15,000.

One-off tests against other opposition will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

The latest collective bargaining agreement was signed off by the NRL and RLPA on May 1 and is binding for a five-year term, although it will be reviewed in 2015 to take into consideration the health of the game.

The increased payments compare more favourably with All Blacks, who currently earn $7500 for every week they assemble in camp regardless of whether they play. The All Blacks will play 13 games this year, meaning any player involved in all 13 stands to earn $97,500 - although a new collective agreement should be signed off soon.

Eligibility for Origin football had already changed, with players now required to have resided in either NSW or Queensland before the age of 13, but the increase in payments will help the New Zealand Rugby League hang on to their top talent.

The increased player payments in representative league are part of increased payments across the board.

The NRL salary cap will increase each year from A$5.85 million in 2013 to A$7 million in 2017, the minimum wage for NRL players will rise to A$85,000 and the minimum wage for fulltime players outside the top 25 will increase from A$25,000 to A$45,000 as well as A$3000 payments for first-grade appearances.

•Sam Rapira returns to the Warriors to play the Panthers in Penrith on Saturday in the only change to the side beaten 24-16 by the Bulldogs in Wellington last weekend.

The prop was originally named to play the Bulldogs but withdrew because of a hand injury. Suaia Matagi made his debut in Rapira's place and is named in a five-man bench to play Penrith.

Kevin Locke (back), Dane Nielsen (ribs) and Jerome Ropati (hamstring) are injured, with Carlos Tuimavave named in the centres.

Earning big bucks

Anzac test: Increased from A$9000 to A$20,000
World Cup and Four Nations: A$50,000 for winning, A$40,000 for second and A$30,000 for third - up from A$25,000, A$20,000 and A$15,000.
State of Origin: Increased from A$20,000 to A$30,000 for each match.

- APNZ

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