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Players, NRL closer in pay talks as Telstra unveiled as sponsor

Date

Steve Jancetic

Shane Mattiske

Shane Mattiske Photo: Tamara Dean

Players and the NRL moved closer to resolving their stand-off over a salary cap increase on Wednesday as the league unveiled a naming and digital rights deal with Telstra.

Players and players' association representatives were locked in talks with NRL officials, both sides conceding some progress in their bid to find common ground as they attempt to split up the game's broadcast deal riches.

ARL Commission chairman John Grant indicated the new five-year deal with Telstra, worth more than $100 million and double the previous deal, had already been factored into its discussions with players, who are seeking a $1.5 million rise in the current $5 million cap.

"We've seen some really positive progress today. There's a range of issues that we continue to discuss," interim NRL chief executive Shane Mattiske said.

"But I'm very pleased with the way those discussions have progressed today and we seem like we've made some progress towards coming to a conclusion."

Mattiske declined to comment on the specific nature of the progress.

NSW Origin and Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen said the NRL had been responsive after the initial slow start to talks.

"Things are looking very positive," said Gallen.

"They've moved a long way from where they first started.

"As players, we're definitely getting to where we need to be. We're not there yet but it's not too far off."

Under the terms of the digital rights deal, NRL matches will be broadcast live on mobile phones and tablets, with the telco giant extending its association with the NRL into a 17th season.

AAP

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