The NRL's decision to announce the new salary cap figures was believed to be in conjunction with the RLPA as Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations continue.

But in response to the announcement this week, the RLPA have revealed they were in fact blindsided by the announcement, claiming the decision to go public with seemingly agreed-upon numbers was disrespectful to the organisation and the players themselves.

While the NRL was happy to promote significant percentage increases to nearly every area of the cap including NRL clubs, Top 30 and Development Player allowances and the NRLW, the RLPA has said they were initially informed of the rise just hours before the announcement was made.

Clubs, agents and players have all expressed frustration at times with the ongoing negotiation process, but while the public announcement appeared to be a positive step, the RLPA have accused the RLPA of trying to undermine the process.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys and National Rugby League Acting Chief Executive Andrew Abdo arrive a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central on September 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“To announce the salary caps for players without their agreement and bypassing their association is unprecedented,” said RLPA chair Deidre Anderson in a release.

“To the best of our knowledge, clubs were also not provided with details of the new salary caps and player payment structure until approximately five minutes before the ARLC's public announcement.

“For a governing body to set its own salary cap disrespects the entire player representation movement and the importance of collective bargaining. Today's announcement goes against negotiating in good faith and only damages the trust between players and the governing body.”

Anderson also slammed the timing of the announcement, with most clubs and also a significant percentage of the media having gone on Christmas break in the last 48 hours, minimising scrutiny of what had, for all intents and purposes, appeared as a mutually achieved result.

“It is not appropriate for players to be rushed into agreeing to a financial proposal two days before Christmas,” Anderson said.

“Agreeing to this week's financial proposal, even in principle, would have created even more uncertainty for the industry and players because we would be working backwards and re-engineering terms and conditions to a figure that has already been set.

“Any payments players receive would not be provided until January, therefore the earlier announcement on core player payment terms is (also) unnecessary and does nothing more than create further confusion for the players and clubs.”

“While we are fully supportive of increases to the players' salaries and other key player support programs – increases and programs we were attempting to negotiate – a CBA negotiation is more than just agreeing to a new salary cap.”