Boycott over salary cap would punish fans: Shillington
David Shillington, far right, played in the 2010 All Stars match. Photo: Getty Images
Canberra Raiders prop David Shillington insists boycotting flagship events should be a last resort, despite the players' growing frustration that a salary cap still hasn't been resolved for next year.
Reports emerged on Thursday that the Rugby League Players Association was considering boycotting next year's NRL All Stars game in protest. While Shillington said the players were growing restless that their opinions weren't being heard, he said a boycott was far from the ideal solution.
''You are punishing the NRL, but you are also punishing the fans, which is the big thing,'' he said.
''I don't think boycotting is the answer. We just have to go through the process and hopefully the NRL gives us a fair deal with the salaries players are entitled to, in response to the bigger revenue created by the game.
''Hopefully it works out all right, if it doesn't we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
''Things like the All Stars and Origin, it's too big to get dragged into the CBA [collective bargaining agreement] negotiations.''
The RLPA is to meet with the ARLC on Friday, where the salary cap stalemate will be discussed.
Clubs have been told to work towards a $5 million salary cap in 2013, an increase from this year's $4.4 million cap.
But the players are pushing for the cap to be even higher after the NRL's new $1 billion TV rights deal.
''We want to be united as players and be taken seriously by the NRL, because to date the NRL hasn't been generous in things we've asked for,'' Shillington said.
''They've pretty much rejected a lot of the things the players have concerns over, or want different circumstances for.
''I totally understand players are getting frustrated and hopefully it doesn't come to a situation where it's boycotted. It means so much to players, particularly the indigenous players and supporters.''
Shillington said the players weren't being greedy and merely wanted to ensure they had similar remuneration as other codes.
''People talk about players grabbing the cash and demanding more money, and sometimes it gets misconstrued into people thinking the players are being greedy,'' he said.
''The fact of the matter is, we're just trying to bring it in line with other codes in Australia and overseas.
''Compared to the NBA and NFL and even the AFL, roughly 25 per cent of the revenue created through the game is redistributed to the players.
''State of Origin generates millions of dollars, and wages equate to about 5 per cent of that.
''Why should the AFL [players] share 25 per cent of their revenue, and the NRL shares 12 per cent?''
Should the NRL opt to install a salary cap higher than $5 million, Shillington said the additional funds should be distributed among young stars or players coming off contract.
''I understand where the NRL is coming from. Clubs have already been budgeting for $5 million, so if all of a sudden it was $6 million or so, then it's just going to be a buying spree where people will start poaching players from other clubs and you don't want the game to be about that,'' he said.
''[Raiders boss] Don Furner wants the cap to go higher … because if he gets 5.2 [million] then he can re-sign 'Berro' [Shaun Berrigan] for a bit of extra money, he can re-sign a couple of junior players as well and upgrade a Josh Papalii or Jack Wighton.
''Hopefully those sort of players would benefit from it, not the big name players.''