NRLW reaches landmark agreement for players to get 12-month contracts
The NRLW is set to reach a historic agreement that will see job security for our favourite female rugby league stars.
According to Fox Sports, the NRL and RLPA (players' association) is working on a collective agreement which will subsequently lock-in paid contractual protection for up to 12 months for NRLW players.
It's understood the minimum wage would also be boosted to $30,000 while the entire women's game receive a $120 million investment.
On top of that, the move will also help facilitate the competition's expansion to 10 teams with Canberra, Cronulla, North Queensland and Wests Tigers poised to join.
Not only do many NRLW stars juggle their playing careers with full-time work elsewhere, but their short-term contracts mean job security can be an issue.
Player Advisory Group representative Keeley Davis, who also plies her trade for the St George Dragons, says the code's 30 per cent player drop out rate is a direct result of the lack of multi-year contracts.
But, hopefully, that will now change.
“I think one of the biggest boosts to performance and the quality of the NRLW competition would be 12-month contracts and job security – at the moment if you’re on a three-month contract and you get injured, you’re on your own,” Davis said.
“We have such a bad retention rate in the NRLW, to be injured and be out for the season and then come back and do the rehab to then not have that certainty of playing just doesn’t make it easy.”
Rugby League Players Association chief executive Clint Newton admits the NRLW is keen to match the AFLW's rapid growth and is putting investment at the forefront.
“Under our proposal, in the current 10-team format, we are wanting to invest $120 million in the women’s game,” Newton said.
“We are a long way behind the AFL and we need to bridge that gap. The women’ game needs investment.”
Since its inception, the NRLW has become one of the most exciting sporting competitions on Australian soil.
And with this landmark news, it's only going to get bigger.
“I think with four new clubs next year, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the competition will look like … and with four new clubs I do expect there is going to be a dip in quality for a little bit as players are spread around,” Keeley added.
“I think we might be a year too soon and you’ll start to see some blowouts in the score lines.
“Also, the CBA isn’t finalised and we have no idea where it will end up - there is a lot of change for our players coming up. A bit more than a month after the Grand Final there is a Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
“And while we love playing for the green and gold, the team isn’t named until after the grand final – two weeks later you fly out, we’ve just played two seasons in the one year – you have to have a very understanding boss to allow you to juggle all these demands.
“Being full time professionals is the fastest way to accelerate the quality of the overall competition.”
Featured Image Credit: Supplied/NRL
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