Rugby League Players Association

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RLPA Logo.png
Full name Rugby League Players Association
Founded 1979
Members 480
Key people

Cameron Smith, General President

Ian Prendergast, CEO
Office location Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales
Country Australia

The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) is a representative organisation in Australia. It represents players contracted to play for a Club in the Australian Rugby League Commission, National Rugby League Competition, National Youth Competition, New South Wales Rugby League State Cup Competition, Queensland Rugby League State Cup Competition and Elite Women's competition..

Formerly the Rugby League Professionals Association, the company changed its name in 2009.


Former Newcastle Knights captain Tony Butterfield was appointed RLPA CEO in 2000.[1]

Former Western Reds and Penrith Panthers player Matthew Rodwell served as CEO for a brief period up until 2009.[citation needed]

In 2009, David Garnsey took the reins as Chief Executive Officer through until 2015.[2]

In December 2015, former Carlton Football Club player and AFLPA general manager of Player Relations Ian Prendergast was appointed chief executive officer of the RLPA.[3]

In 2017, Australian, Queensland and Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith was appointed General President of the RLPA, taking over from Clint Newton who continued with the organisation in the role of general manager of Player Relations.[4]

RLPA board of directors[edit]

The current RLPA board of directors consists of 11 individuals. Adam Blair and Eloni Vunakece were the most recent additions, joining the group in August 2017.[1]

The Players' Champion[edit]

The Rugby League Players' Association's annual awards ceremony, The Players' Champion, recognises the best player in the National Rugby League as voted by their peers.

Four-time winner of the award Johnathan Thurston, described the Players' Champion as "the highest accolade a player can get."[5]

Previous winners[edit]

Collective Bargaining Agreement[edit]

In November 2017, the RLPA negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Rugby League that secured the biggest pay increase for players in the game's 109-year history.[6]

The new CBA deal captures a range of employment related clauses for a five-year period, beginning in 2018 through until 2022.

In a show of unity and solidarity behind the RLPA in the ongoing negotiations, NRL players wore branded caps throughout State of Origin press conferences and green tape in Round 21 of the 2017 season. RLPA CEO Ian Prendergast stated it "was no secret players had become increasingly frustrated" by negotiations. "They want to stand up, use their voice and demonstrate their solidarity across the weekend to get this deal over the line so we can deliver certainty in the industry."[7]


  1. ^ "RLPA History". RLPA. Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  2. ^ "RLPA boss resigns after no confidence vote". Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  3. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (1 December 2015). "New RLPA boss Ian Prendergast says he'll make union as strong as AFLPA". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  4. ^ "Cameron Smith". RLPA. Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  5. ^ Callinan, Josh (13 September 2016). "Rugby League Players' Champions Awards | photos, live blog, poll". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 6 December 2017. 
  6. ^ "NRL reaches $1 billion peace deal". Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  7. ^ "Subscribe to the Daily Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2017. 

External links[edit]