Raiders recruitment boss Pete Mulholland has welcomed this week's revised collective bargaining agreement, but voiced concern over players at the lower end of NRL playing rosters.
Under the latest agreement, the Rugby League Players Association agreed to a six per cent salary cap reduction for 2021 and 2022, which adds up to an almost $20m haircut over the next two seasons.
But each club will retain a 30-man top-grade playing squad plus a minimum of three development players, which vindicates Canberra's summer retention and recruitment strategy.
The club has had 29 players on their list since early December, when Albert Hopoate joined the Green Machine. A 30th player to round out the squad will likely come from within, potentially through one of three triallists training with the club during preseason.
Mulholland praised the RLPA and NRL for coming to an agreement, but said the COVID-induced reduction in salary cap would disadvantage lower-tier players.
"It's the bottom end that's always affected, six per cent off 60,000 [dollars] is a lot more of an effect on a family than six per cent off a million," Mulholland said.
"It's a good result for the game. They've saved I believe 20 million over the term of the agreement.
"The league and the Players' Association have done a good job to come together on it because at different stages they were at different figures, and they were poles apart."
The Raiders have managed their playing roster with aplomb this season, after the departure of key men Nick Cotric (Canterbury) and John Bateman (Wigan).
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Veteran prop Ryan James has joined from the Gold Coast Titans, while young guns Harry Rushton (Wigan) and Albert Hopoate (Manly) will call Canberra home in 2021.
Senior players Jordan Rapana and Sia Soliola were also re-signed late last year.
"30's not a bad figure, we've had 29 signed now since December," Mulholland said.
"We've got one spot left, whether we have to fill that or not it won't matter one way or the other apparently so we're pretty happy with it.
"We could promote from within if we have to and do it that way."
Canberra has had a productive preseason on the field as well with forgotten winger Bailey Simonssen back to full fitness after shoulder surgery last year.
Hooker Josh Hodgson, not yet back in full training, is also eyeing a round-one return.