Ryan Matterson’s defection has raised several concerns. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty
Ryan Matterson’s defection has raised several concerns. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty

Internal war set to erupt over contract debacle

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has defended criticism directed at players for breaking contracts, insisting: "to break a contract requires two parties, not one."

And Greenberg indicated his push for the introduction of a transfer window was being blocked by the RLPA.

Ryan Matterson's decision to quit Wests Tigers mid-contract - citing a disagreement with coach Michael Maguire - to sign a three-year deal with Parramatta has angered many NRL fans.

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Matterson's decision to walk away continues a trend of players quitting clubs mid-contract once rival clubs lodge substantial offers through player agents.

 

Unpopular at Concord, Matterson has been labelled greedy for dismissing his Wests Tigers teammates for a healthy $1 million, three-year deal at Bankwest Stadium.

Speaking at Tuesday's launch of next season's Magic Round in Brisbane, Greenberg said: "First and foremost, to break a contract requires two parties, not one.

"A player can't break a contract and walk away without the permission of the other party. So in every contractual dispute, it takes two to get to a resolution.

Todd Greenberg is pushing for a transfer window. Picture: AAP/Bianca De Marchi
Todd Greenberg is pushing for a transfer window. Picture: AAP/Bianca De Marchi

"Now we have been very forthright in our views to the Player's Association (RLPA) and the players themselves about changing the player contracting model.

"That has been rejected by the Player's Association and we are in discussions with them again about how we bring some of those changes to the fore in 2020.

"But it's an open discussion. We've got some strong views on improving the system to change some of these things but it's the same principle, it takes two to change a contract, not one."

The NRL wants to explore an off-season transfer window which many claim would clean up messy dispute between players and clubs and increasing off-season speculation about player movement.

"We have made it very clear about having some contracting windows so there is a much more ordered system for fans to understand when players can change clubs so we don't get some of the current challenges that we face," Greenberg said.

"But we are in a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players and changes to that have to be agreed to by both parties. That forms a negotiation and that negotiation is ongoing."

RLPA chief Ian Prendergast and Todd Greenberg have butted heads over contract reform. Picture: AAP/Daniel Munoz
RLPA chief Ian Prendergast and Todd Greenberg have butted heads over contract reform. Picture: AAP/Daniel Munoz

Fed-up with players shifting around mid-contract, former Test forward Gorden Tallis said: "It is the managers that are doing this. They are even eating each other up.

"It is embarrassing. They run the game at the moment. But Todd, the clubs and the CEOs need to do something about it."

The off-season has been littered with rumours about high-profile players being linked to rival clubs, damaging the game's credibility. They include David Fifita, Tom and Jake Trbojevic, Tyson Frizell, Jai Arrow and Latrell Mitchell.

Just last month, Greenberg said: "I think it's in the best interests of the game, particularly the fans to try to tidy it up a bit.

"I don't like the ability of such a long-term outcome for players to announce that they're playing at another team.

"So I think there's merit in having a discussion about bringing a more orderly process to transfer windows and contracting periods."

News Corp Australia


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