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Sunday, May 28, 2023

NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons men’s stars to earn $30,000 per game after 11th hour pay deal, women’s players given historic payment

The men’s Origin players agreed to take pay cuts as the game tried to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, with each NSW and Queensland player earning $15,000 per match.

The Rugby League Players’ Association had proposed returning the threshold to its pre-pandemic level of $30,000 a game in the next pay agreement, which has now been ratified.

The Origin representatives – most of whom are among the NRL’s highest-paid players – weren’t agitating for an increase on their 2019 levels, but many had privately been baffled they hadn’t been offered Origin contracts several days into camp.

The industrial dispute is poised to drag on throughout the Origin period after club bosses were told the NRL will push back on the players’ union’s final offer, lodged last week.

Within hours of a snap teleconference between the NRL and clubs, a number of club chief executives pulled out of a planned meeting with leading players Daly Cherry-Evans, Christian Welch, Wade Graham and club delegates, who wanted to explain their latest settlement offer.

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The Origin payments uncertainty didn’t deter Blues back-rower Liam Martin, who insisted a compromise on the overall pay deal would eventually be reached despite the last agreement expiring almost seven months ago.

“I’m not really worried about it, to be honest,” Martin said. “I’ve only really cared about the footy. I’ll play for free. I’m sure they’ll work it out, and it’s sort of back of the mind for me. You don’t really worry about it [at the moment].”

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