A mass meeting of NRL players on Monday may vote to boycott this year's World Cup as the RLPA increases pressure, despite the NRL's 16 clubs unanimously agreeing last week to grant them an effective 52 per cent pay increase.
Roy Masters is a Sports Columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald
The balance of power between NRL coach and player has irrevocably tilted towards the player, reflected in doubts over the future of Bulldogs coach Des Hasler and Gold Coast's Neil Henry, and following Wests Tigers' sacking of Jason Taylor after round three this year.
The practice of referees assuming the role of choreographers, or puppet masters, is the worst it has ever been in the NRL.
"There is a way out," says Paul Whatuira, a premiership player at two NRL clubs, whose story of recovery from chronic mental health issues must be an inspiration to say, Paul Langmack, another grand final winner who was recently admitted to psychiatric care.
A meeting of over 300 NRL players in Sydney on Monday week is likely to be the biggest show of industrial muscle in Australian sport.
Philanthropic donations channelled via the Australian Sports Fund have the potential to raise up to $300 million a year for Australian sport.
There are players and officials at Wests Tigers still haunted by the death of Mosese Fotuaika, the 20-year-old front row forward who took his own life in 2013, shortly after sustaining a potentially season ending pectoral muscle injury at the club's Concord gym.
NRL head coaches will cop a pay cut; assistant coaches will be sacked; strength and conditioning staff numbers will be trimmed and lavish overseas pre-season camps will end.
Some codes have travelled so far down the corporate path, they are too business-oriented to be called a sport.
Club rivalries are all but extinct in the NRL, with half of Sydney's teams playing out of one stadium, coaches hopping from one club to another and the heavy centralising hand of Rugby League Central.