NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
Inside the NRL: Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead impress
Last Updated: 08/08/17 11:05am
Jenna Brooks has the latest from the NRL as salary cap negotiations continue, plus two England internationals impress in round 22...
There are just four rounds to go until the end of the NRL's 2017 regular season and the salary cap for next year is still not finalised.
The NRL have told clubs to expect a figure around $9.2m (£5.6m), but the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) insist negotiations for the cap are ongoing and the amount is yet to be agreed.
"It's jumping the gun to speculate about the implications of a salary cap figure that is not yet finalised," RLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast said.
"We are determined to deliver a deal that is a win for fans, clubs and players, which can hopefully provide certainty to the industry over the coming weeks."
The uncertainty makes it extremely difficult for clubs to do business. It's been reported that at least two have gone above the suggested figure. If this is the case, those clubs will be forced to sell players before the season begins.
Prendergast is set to resume discussions with NRL CEO Todd Greenberg this week in the hope of nearing an agreement.
With the salary cap still up in the air, reports in Australia suggest Warriors prop Charlie Gubb could be on his way over to the UK, with Salford believed to be leading the race to sign the player.
Gubb, who is out of contract at the end of this season, has caught the eye of a number of Super League clubs.
Despite admitting he would prefer to remain in the NRL, his agent and former Wigan head coach, Frank Endacott, said he would consider a move to Super League.
"Charlie's preference would be to stay in the NRL, but at the end of the day if there's nothing that suits him there he'll go to the Super League," Endacott said.
Raiders in the Race
Canberra has kept their finals hopes alive with a surprise 30-12 win over reigning premiers Cronulla.
England internationals Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead impressed in the victory, which saw the Raiders move into 10th, just four points behind eighth-placed Penrith.
Whitehead, who played his first game at loose forward, set up Hodgson for a try, ran for 169 metres and made 29 tackles as Canberra completed a third win in four games, and Hodgson praised his England team-mate.
"I said to him he can't put a performance like that in the middle and expect to go back to the back row, you might be stuck there," Hodgson said.
"He's a great player and one of those people that does a lot of the small things fans don't see and we all know what he does for our side and how important he is for us and he really puts his hand up."
Whitehead rated the comfortable win as the Raiders' best performance of the year.
"We need to win every game and we've got the belief in camp that we're capable of doing that," Whitehead said.
"We proved what the team can do when we complete and get to the end of our sets."
Growing the Game
In a bid to help grow the game in regional Australia, the NRL will play up to five games in New South Wales next year.
The move will give supporters outside major cities the chance to enjoy first grade Rugby League after the annual City-Country representative fixture was scrapped earlier this year.
Country Rugby League chief executive Terry Quinn said these games would more than compensate for City-Country.
"Particularly having competition games out there with the best players turning out," Quinn said.
"I'm sure they'd love to have a player like Johnathan Thurston or a Latrell Mitchell out to the towns. It would be unbelievable."