NRL needs pay deal before finals: players

Matt Coughlan
Rugby League Players Association boss Ian Prendergast wants the pay impasse sorted out

Rugby League Players Association president Ian Prendergast believes a pay deal must be struck before the NRL finals, as strike action continues to loom over the game.

Almost 300 players were presented with the NRL's latest collective bargaining agreement offer in Sydney on Monday night.

While progress was made, there are still a number of sticking points between the players and the league including a shared revenue stream.

Asked on Fox Sports' League Life if a deal should be reached before the finals, Prendergast said: "I think we need to."

"There's a commitment over the next couple of weeks and hopefully we've got a deal in principle which we were hoping to deliver to players at the mass meeting on Monday but we weren't quite there."

The RLPA has warned boycotts could begin by skipping commercial activities through next month's finals series, including the captain's call and the Dally M awards ceremony.

While Prendergast is hopeful it won't come to that, the union is refusing to soften its position on industrial action.

"I don't think Todd (NRL CEO Todd Greenberg) would allow that to happen because the Dally M is a celebration of the players' performance throughout the year," he said.

"I would hate to see that happen and I don't think it will, but we'd have to consider that at the appropriate time."

He said the main focus would be securing more time with the NRL to get the deal done in the next couple of weeks.

Negotiations have dragged on for 14 months with a October 31 deadline in mind.

Prendergast said discussions had been more productive since Greenberg had got involved, but it would be disappointing if the NRL's current offer was final.

"Particularly since Todd's been involved in recent weeks," Prendergast said.