The never-ending speculation surrounding the NRL’s player market is set to kick into overdrive with clubs being given a tentative salary-cap figure for the 2018 season.
In the same week the likes of Aaron Woods, James Tedesco and Kieran Foran reportedly committed to rival clubs, the governing body directed all 16 franchises to work off a figure proposed last month to the players’ union.
While the collective bargaining talks are still in the embryonic stage, the NRL has tabled an offer of $9.14 million for each club to spend on their playing roster.
The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) said it had been made aware of correspondence sent to clubland on Thursday night from league central.
“Our understanding is that the clubs have been directed to comply with a salary-cap figure that was set out in the NRL’s proposal of 30 March 2017,” a RLPA spokesperson said.
“From the RLPA’s point of view, the salary-cap figure for 2018 and beyond must be agreed through the collective negotiation process.”
The union is adamant the final figure has yet to be agreed to.
“We are in the process of preparing our response to the NRL’s initial offer, which will include a proposed salary-cap amount,” the spokesperson said.
The development is sure to finally add some traction to an intentionally crowded player market, as agents seek to take advantage of the new broadcast deal.
Jarryd Hayne, Cooper Cronk, Darius Boyd, Anthony Milford, Paul Gallen, Shaun Johnson, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston and Josh Dugan are among the big names off-contract.