V’landys takes swipe at legal cost of no-fault stand-down fight

Peter V'landys wants the NRL and players' union to avoid the expensive legal costs of an arbitration hearing over the code's no-fault stand-down rule as the parties haggle over a pay dispute which threatens to drag on throughout the finals.

Australian Rugby League Commission boss V'landys has largely left the delicate negotiations over the salary cap for 2021 and 2022 to NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo, but has broken ranks on the NRL and Rugby League Players Association's collision course over the no-fault stand-down rule.

Peter V’landys and Andrew Abdo.Credit:Getty

The NRL has used its discretion to allow the Tigers’ Josh Reynolds and Raiders' Curtis Scott to keep playing before their respective police charges were dropped.

V'landys said the legal costs to be racked up over the no-fault stand-down rule fight "make no sense" given the current climate.

"We [introduced the rule] for the commercial aspects of the game so the players didn't have to take less money," V'landys said.

To me it makes no sense. It's like someone saving your life and then throwing you off the cliff

"If we lost sponsors and broadcasters because we didn't take a position of leadership and had a massive decline in revenue what would happen then? And here we are.

"To me it makes no sense. It's like someone saving your life and then throwing you off the cliff. The decision was made to protect the game and protect the players' income. Why would you not want to protect someone's income?"

The NRL has flagged a 10 per cent reduction in next year's salary cap, just weeks after tabling a take-it-or-leave-it deal which would have shaved just five per cent from the total player payment pool. The RLPA asked for more time to consider the initial proposal, which was taken off the table.

The RLPA have been methodical in their calculations given savings are not only being sought in player wages, but in related funds such as retirement, hardship and wellbeing and education.

"The ongoing CBA dispute between players and NRL management is private and confidential, as per the dispute process agreed under the CBA," an RLPA spokesperson said. "We do not intend to discuss the matter in the public domain. We will continue to work through the process confidentially with NRL management."

Daly Cherry-Evans wants the NRL’s players to stand firm in its negotiation over pay deals for next year.Credit:Getty Images

V'landys has stressed squad sizes should remain at 30 next year – rather than 28 – in order for players not to lose their jobs.

Manly captain and RLPA director Daly Cherry-Evans said the NRL's shift in its salary cap offer was "a bit confusing".

"They repositioned themselves so obviously that's a bit confusing when you're in a negotiation and you go backwards," Cherry-Evans said.

"That's why as a playing group we need to come together and be clear on what we want. I'm really certain as a playing group we know what we want moving forward, and that's just a fair deal for both the game and the playing group right now and for the future.

"As a playing group you've got to remember this is a game within a game. People are trying to position someone to make it seem like it's bad, but it's not. We're just doing what's right for ourselves as a playing group, not just for this year but beyond the next couple of years."

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