The NRL's debacle of a negotiation process over the next collective bargaining agreement with the Rugby League Players Association - and the 2023 salary cap as a result - has claimed its latest victim.
Matt Lodge, who joined the Roosters in the middle of the 2022 season after being released by the New Zealand Warriors, has been relegated to a $1000 per week train and trial deal while he awaits official sign off of paperwork.
That, according to News Corp, is so that he can train with the club - he would otherwise be uninsured and not earning a cent as he prepares for his first full campaign at Bondi.
While a majority of contracts have been registered for the 2023 campaign with teams now back at pre-season training, or, for those in the finals, set to resume in the coming weeks, the final pieces of the 2023 playing group puzzle are still in negotiations.
Those negotiations are happening at a frustratingly slow pace though as they wait for the RLPA and NRL to sign off on the size of the 2023 salary cap.
It's understood Lodge has agreed to sign with the Roosters, but the size of the deal hasn't been confirmed by the NRL.
The RLPA have this weekend unleashed a fresh statement suggesting the latest reported collective bargaining agreement negotiations, with the NRL putting forward more money than ever before, however, the RLPA labelled it unextoradinary and went to great lengths to suggest it was actually a step back for players given the NRL's increased revenue.
"The reported NRL proposal is far from extraordinary," the RLPA's statement read.
"If it was extraordinary, a recommendation would have been to accept the NRL's proposal on behalf of the players and an agreement would have been signed.
"However, because of the substandard deal on offer, we chose to reject it.
"A fundamental position for player associations in CBA negotiations is that the players' share of revenue does not go backward.
"Despite the large number in the headlines, the NRL players' share of revenue is going backward, and at a time when more players are joining the NRL competition courtesy of a 17th team and more full-time contracts are being proposed for players outside of the Top 30."
The ongoing negotiations between the waring parties have seen some suggestions that a handful of clubs could create their own breakaway competition, while ARLC chairman Peter V'Landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo have cancelled a trip to England to attend the Rugby League World Cup final as they prioritise negotiations.
The NRL have also recently added a sweetener for clubs on the financial front, increasing the league grant significantly to each club for 2023.
It's unclear what will happen if no new deal is signed into the new year as the 2023 season edges closer.