NRL warned to brace for player strikes

Leading NRLW star Ali Brigginshaw has told the NRL to prepare for a "hairy couple of weeks", issuing a fresh warning to the governing body that male players are willing to go on strike.

Brigginshaw, who was named player of the match in Australia's World Cup final win last year, said both male and female athletes were tired of waiting for a resolution to protracted collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.

Male players are covered by the previous CBA -- which expired at the start of the new contractual year on November 1 -- but female players have no CBA in place.

Brisbane playmaker Brigginshaw is on the Rugby League Players Association advisory board.

She said she hadn't stepped on a field since last year's World Cup final "purely out of stress around not wanting to get injured" and risking her chance at getting an NRLW contract.

Brigginshaw suggested her male counterparts would follow suit if no CBA was finalised by the season opener on March 2.

"I think they (the NRL) think the men will just turn around and play, but they are all holding their ground and they won't be playing until things are sorted," she told SEN.

"They are fully supported by the RLPA.

"It's going to be a hairy couple of weeks I guess, because the men's games are just about to start and they need to get it sorted.

"We're fighting for them and they're fighting for us."

Brigginshaw's resistance to training stems from the fact that players, as opposed to clubs, are now having to foot the bill for medical insurance.

The logic behind such a move is that it would reduce tax hits for clubs given that the players were enjoying an increase in the salary cap amount ($12.1 million for the NRL, $884,000 for the NRLW).

But Brigginshaw urged the NRL to reconsider, estimating it would cost "up to $3500" per player - something part-time NRLW players would struggle to cover.

"They (the NRL) can come to the party," she said.

"I'm not sure what's holding them back, but as a playing group we are very strongly united."

Brigginshaw flagged that the NRLW season was likely to start in June, but no season length or start date have yet been locked in.