Monster 20-week season as NRLW on cusp of historic deal

A major breakthrough in tense CBA negotiations is set to deliver the NRLW a 20-week season and a $1.5 million salary cap as part of a proposed five-year agreement. SEE THE DETAILS.

The NRL is on the brink of a landmark agreement for the women’s game with NRLW players set to be part of a 20-week season and operate under an unprecedented $1.5 million salary cap.

The historic proposal is in the final stages of being ratified after the NRL and RLPA spent the past week thrashing out the critical details which have been at the centre of the ugly dispute between head office and the players union.

The fight over women’s funding had threatened to escalate into potential industrial action by the men’s players during the NRL Pre-season Challenge.

The Daily Telegraph obtained a leaked copy of the proposal late on Monday night which features joint NRL and RLPA letterhead and confirms the women’s game is poised to enter the professional era under a charter that includes:

* A $900,000 salary cap in 2023, which rises to $1.518 million in 2027;

* A minimum wage of $30,000 in 2023, which rises to $50,600 in 2027;

* A significant rise in workload with a 20 week season slated in 2023 and 2024, expanding to 23 weeks by 2025;

* Every club will have 24 players and four development players;

* Support for pregnant players as well as leave provisions; and

* Every club to be funded with a designated NRLW welfare officer.

Also included in the private and confidential proposal is that female players will receive 50 per cent of premiership prizemoney.

Crucially, the players union and NRL appear to have agreed on flexibility for expansion from 10 teams in 2023.

The race will now be on for clubs to sign the game’s elite women with the documentation indicating that clubs have a deadline until May 24 to reach their roster quota.

It was only last Saturday that the NRL sent a memo to clubs forecasting a potential breakthrough in finalising the historic NRLW agreement.

“We have agreed the major key terms for the NRLW CBA, subject to a few matters which we will work with NRLW clubs and the Commission on,’’ the statement to clubs read.

“This is a very positive step.’’

With the NRLW agreements all but complete the NRL and players union can turn their attention to finalising a deal for the men.

Originally published as NRLW CBA: Breakthrough five-year deal to secure the future of the women’s game

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