NRL: Warriors boss optimistic NRL pay dispute will be resolve

Warriors Chief Executive Wayne Scurrah. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Warriors Chief Executive Wayne Scurrah. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah is cautiously optimistic the NRL season will start as scheduled in four weeks despite comments from Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith that the players were set to reject the latest pay deal put to them by the Australian Rugby League Commission.

Smith, the Storm's players' representative, said the Collective Bargaining Agreement offered by the ARLC would be "knocked back'', according to Brisbane's Courier Mail.

The newspaper reported that the Rugby League Players' Association negotiating team of club representatives agreed during negotiations in December to take the ARLC CBA proposal to the players of every club for a vote.

While the NRL was yet to be told by the RLPA of the players' decision, Smith said today (Tues) the players would not accept it.

There are fears in some quarters that the season, which kicks off for the Warriors with a game against Parramatta in Sydney on March 9, could be delayed as a result.

Scurrah was reluctant to comment directly on the negotiation process but was confident any issues would be ironed out. However, he couldn't guarantee that the season would start on time.

"Obviously we want everybody to be satisfied and the season to start as scheduled and we've not been given any information which would lead us to be concerned at this point but it's like anything else, it's like the Sky broadcasting deal, it's not done until it's done,'' he said.

Scurrah added: "All of our contracts are confirmed and in place for the season with the players.

"I'm certain the players want to play as much as the fans want them to and the clubs want them to, and the Commission. Everyone understands the ramifications of that not occurring as per the schedule. It would only be damaging, so I'm sure everyone will be working together to ensure that [scheduled start] happens.''

Warriors player representative Russell Packer, who has taken over the role from Micheal Luck, could not be reached for comment today.

It is understood that some players remain opposed to several small details in the proposed CBA relating to the total $AUD5.85 million salary cap, welfare and education issues and bonuses for the average player.

The minimum wage will increase to $AUD80,000 per season and State of Origin match payments to $AUD30,000 per match.

While Smith was yet to be convinced, North Queensland player representative Johnathan Thurston said his team accepted the CBA as it was put to them.

"We were happy with it,'' Thurston told the Courier-Mail.

"There were some aspects of it we would have liked to be a lot better, but at this stage overall the Cowboys are a supporter of it. There's a few things on there that we would like to be better, but at this stage I don't think that's going to happen.''

- APNZ

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