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Contract talks resume with NRL to register new deals

NRL players are back on deck and so are the game's endless contract talks, with more than 180 off-contract players able to plan for their futures again.

The NRL has confirmed that contracts can be registered once more after a six-week hiatus on new deals while the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stars including David Fifita, Jake Friend and Cameron Smith are among those who had contract negotiations put on hold.

The NRL's advice delivered to clubs, players and managers on Monday has coincided with a resumption of training ahead of a proposed May 28 restart date, however, any new deal must come with a clause regarding the potential lowering of the game's salary cap.

Any reduction in the salary cap would require an agreement between the NRL and RLPA.

The NRL has indicated that in signing a new deal, players must agree to a clause where their wages are reduced by the same percentage as any lowered salary cap.

"Until otherwise notified any Top 30 contract not yet registered by the NRL needs to include the following clause: Where the NRL, Clubs and RLPA agree that players' contracted Playing Fees will be reduced for the 2020, 2021 and / or 2022 seasons, the player agrees that his contracted Playing Fee will be reduced by the same annual percentage basis down to a limit of the agreed Top 30 (or equivalent) minimum wage for that season," an NRL memo read on Monday.

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In a normal season clubs begin looking towards the annual June 30 transfer deadline, with several mid-season moves typically made as teams bolster their rosters and players look for a fresh start.

Whether that date remains as the transfer deadline is still to be determined in further talks with the RLPA, as is the usual stipulation for clubs to have a top 30 squad finalised by the end of June.

Clubs such as Canterbury and Brisbane have had roster spots freed up by the departures of Corey Harawira-Naera, Jayden Okunbor and Izaia Perese over off-field incidents.

Players on development contracts will be available to play as soon as the competition resumes on May 28, easing the rule that required an NRL exemption for them to be named before June 30.

Across the game, there are hundreds of contract matters to be sorted, including Moses Suli, who has offers from both the Dragons and Manly for 2021 and beyond, while Tyson Frizell's shift to Newcastle next year can also now be finalised.

A short-term Raiders deal for Jordan Rapana can also now be lodged after the Kiwi international returned to training on Monday with the NRL's permission.

Brisbane will look to sort out several player options held for next season, with Anthony Milford, Jack Bird, Anthony McCullough and Jake Turpin all needing to act on clauses in their respective contracts this month.

The Rabbitohs have already enacted options for Latrell Mitchell and Jaydn Su'A to remain at Redfern in 2021.