A Closer Look at Dramatic Negotiations between ARL and RLPA

In a recent interview on Triple M Rush Hour with hosts Leisel Jones, Liam, and Dobbo, the CEO of the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA), Clint Newton OAM, voiced his concerns regarding the ongoing negotiations between the Australian Rugby League (ARL) and the RLPA. Amid accusations of selfishness and racism from ARL Chairman Peter V’landys, Newton shed light on the complexities and challenges surrounding the current state of affairs within the sport. This article delves into Newton’s response and highlights the need for an Independent Industrial Relations Mediator to resolve the disputes and pave the way for a harmonious future.


The Game in Chaos

Clint Newton expressed his disappointment at the current state of rugby league in Australia. The absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for both men and women players, the unsigned licensing agreement by all seventeen clubs, and the lack of states agreements have contributed to the game’s uncertainty. Newton highlighted that these fundamental aspects should be readily available to every individual involved in the sport, emphasizing that players are no different and deserve equitable treatment.

“It is what it is. I’m disappointed that the game is in this position. Im disappointed that our game is in chaos at the moment. Where we don’t have a CBA in place for our men and women. We don’t have the licensing agreement signed off by all seventeen clubs. We don’t have states agreements in place. We’ve only just announced a one year deal with the NSW government about our grand final. I am concerned where the game is at, at the moment.  And again, the things that are in dispute, are pretty basic. That should be afforded to every person in this country. The players are no different”

Clint Newton OAM, RLPA CEO

Player-Led Decisions

The RLPA CEO clarified that all decisions made during this tumultuous time are player-led. The RLPA acts based on the collective conviction and will of the players, aiming to protect their interests and ensure fair and reasonable conditions. As the representatives of the athletes, the RLPA seeks to safeguard their rights and welfare amidst the negotiations.

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RLPA CEO, Clint Newton OAM speaks to the media during a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
RLPA CEO, Clint Newton OAM speaks to the media during a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Call for an Independent Industrial Relations Mediator

Newton stressed the necessity of bringing an Independent Industrial Relations Mediator to the table. This impartial mediator would help facilitate meaningful discussions and foster a resolution that satisfies all parties involved. By engaging in this process, the RLPA believes that the claims they present align with what every other worker in the country would expect.

“What we need to talk less about really is the action of the players, and more about why the NRL won’t come to the table with an Independent Industrial Relations Mediator. We’re willing to step into it, because again. We believe that these claims are very fair and reasonable. That every other worker in this country would otherwise be afforded. The question should be ‘Why aren’t you prepared to come to the table under those terms’”

Clint Newton OAM, RLPA CEO

The Need for Transparency

Newton called for more transparency in the ongoing negotiations, urging the NRL to be more open and willing to work towards a resolution. The RLPA believes that the concerns they raise are fair and just, and they seek open dialogue and cooperation from the NRL to find common ground and reach an agreement.


The recent interview with RLPA CEO Clint Newton on Triple M Rush Hour provided a glimpse into the complexities surrounding the negotiations between ARL and the RLPA. Newton’s concerns about the lack of a CBA, unsigned licensing agreements, and states agreements are valid points that need urgent attention. The emphasis on player-led decisions underlines the RLPA’s commitment to advocating for the players’ best interests.

Ultimately, the call for an Independent Industrial Relations Mediator serves as a crucial step towards resolving the disputes and restoring stability to the sport. By embracing transparency and genuine dialogue, both parties can pave the way for a more prosperous future for rugby league in Australia, where all stakeholders can thrive together.

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