Smith backflip on Collective Bargaining Agreement

By Laine Clark,

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    Hours after sending shudders through the NRL, red-faced Test captain Cameron Smith on Tuesday shied away from his claim players would “knock back” the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement on offer.

    In a backflip that may rival anything on offer in Saturday night’s All Stars clash in Brisbane, Smith did his best to ease concerns over the 2013 season proper beginning without a salary cap after receiving an update on talks from Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) CEO David Garnsey.

    Melbourne’s premiership-winning skipper raised eyebrows when he told Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday morning that the CBA tabled by the ARL Commission “is going to get knocked back”.

    By the time he arrived for the official All Stars team photo at Suncorp Stadium, Smith had another stunning admission – he was “out of the loop”.

    “I had an extended break compared to other players in the competition. I was out of the loop there for a while but we have moved on in our negotiations,” he said.

    “I obviously spoke on radio this morning about that. Since then I have had a chat with David Garnsey and he has given me an update and we are a lot closer to agreeing than I believed we were.

    “My comments were based on discussions we had around just before the break.”

    Smith was as quick to dismiss any talk of of the NRL season start being in jeopardy due to the drawn out salary cap talks.

    “There was talk before the Christmas break that this game was going to be boycotted,” he said.

    “The players were never going to boycott this game.

    “It’s a great start to the year. It’s important for the NRL and the community – that’s what this game is about, getting the community involved.

    “I just want to clarify that we are heading in the right direction and that we are a lot closer than I believed we were – it’s good to hear.”

    The ongoing talks have frustrated some of the NRL’s biggest stars like Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston who are waiting for a salary cap to be finalised before re-igniting contract talks.

    But Smith believed players should be patient, saying the new CBA was about looking after the game’s “generation next” not topping up current NRL stars’ pay packets.

    “It’s pretty important. Not so much for players like me but guys who are starting their careers, the kids starting the game,” he said.

    “It would have been nice to have been done by now but it is a pretty detailed agreement.

    “It is a lengthy agreement. We are looking at five years and it is something that can’t be done overnight.”

    The ARLC have offered to lift the NRL salary cap from $4.4 million to $5.8 million this season, gradually rising it over the next five years until $7 million by 2017 and increasing the marquee player allowance from $300,000 to $550,000.

    “Everyone knows the figure we are after and the NRL have been great to work with to be honest, working hard with the RLPA,” Smith said.

    “I am confident we can get something done and we can kick off the year.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • February 6th 2013 @ 7:53am
      oikee said | February 6th 2013 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      If you dont get it right Smithy, nobody will be kicking off the year. The game will be shut down and the players told to pack there bags and go home. You either sign the agreement or it’s all over Smithy. ? How do you like that senario. ?
      We will boycot?,,,,,, no we were never going to boycot?
      The deal wont be signed,?,,,,,,, ‘oh’ we are going to sign the deal?
      Mate, no wonder our game is so backward if this is what happens running our game. Talk about the boy who cried wolf.
      More backflips than Tinga.

      From now on i will only be listening to what the CEO “David Smith” has to say. Between Cam Smith and league reporters, it is hard to get the truth outta any of them. They all are full of porkies.
      And if i hear another reporter try to tell me how good another code is, i will scream. If our code ever have to wear helmets i will walk away, i mean it.

    • February 6th 2013 @ 8:04am
      mushi said | February 6th 2013 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      It sounds like Cam Smith is damn lucky that he lives in the age of professional sports.

    • February 6th 2013 @ 9:04am
      B.A Sports said | February 6th 2013 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      This was utter bollocks.

      I listened to that interview on radio yesterday morning and at no point did he say the start of the season was in jeopardy. Jimmy “um er” Smith, who loves to try and sensationalize things tried to turn what Cam Smith said into a story, because he likes the idea of breaking a a story and needs something to kickstart his media career.

      And then Tyson Otto, who is fitting in very nicely at the Telecrap completly misquoted the Australian captain and created a story, probably just so that he could get his name on an article with top billing on the Telegraph website. Make no mistake, this guy is fast fitting in well at the Telecrap with numerous reports of him already stalking different athletes over the summer, following them, waiting outside coffee shops then hounding them for comments etc..

      And we wonder why athletes shy away from the media….

      • February 6th 2013 @ 9:45am
        oikee said | February 6th 2013 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        Fair enough, i did not follow the story , only the headlines. These reporters need to pick up there acts, fair dinkum.

        They could not wait to bait the dogs last year, and this year we have the Doggies and James Graham up in Rockhampton, ? not a word from our media mob, you see the good stories dont get reported.
        If David Smith wants to do something to improve the game, tell the media no stories unless they publish the good and the bad instead of only bad.
        You get bored with the media, no wonder nine news is losing fans. And the current affairs shows have run there course with all the properganda they inflicked onto the public.

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