BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: Usman Khawaja of Australia looks dejected after being dismissed by Moeen Ali of England during day two of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 24, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja is used to hitting boundaries, but this time around he's raising the bat to knock the NRL for six after backing rugby league players amidst their CBA drama.

Rugby league is going through a miniature crisis as it stands, with CBA discussions still unresolved despite initially kicking off in November, 2021.

The NRL attempted to announce an increased salary cap for next year without consulting the players, heaping the pressure onto them, and now resulting in entire squads withdrawing from media commitments and potentially a Round 1 boycott.

Khawaja lined up for photos alongside Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds at the Gabba on Thursday, the venue where the Broncos will take three games this season, but spent more time discussing the CBA than taking glamour shots.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 01: Sam Williams of the Raiders celebrates at full time during the round 12 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium on June 1, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

The batter is no stranger to tough conversations around collective bargaining agreements, Khawaja is a member of the Australian Cricketers Association, and has clashed with Cricket Australia over similar issues in the past.

“Looking at reports and what the players are saying, they're not really asking for too much,” Khawaja said.

“They're not asking for more, they're just asking for what they think is fair, and there's nothing wrong with that.

“We stood by a revenue share model, and Cricket Australia were trying to change it. We didn't ask for any more, we didn't ask for anything different, we just asked for the revenue share model at the time and I think that ended up working best for everyone.
“We're all partners in the game. That's what worked really well for cricket, and as a player, always stand by your players and your mates.

“As much as we love this game. there's no game without the players.”
While both sides know what they want and where they stand, Khawaja believes simply being open and honest about the situation is the best route to a solution.

“With all associations ... you just want clarity and openness,” he said.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Usman Khawaja of Australia prepares to bat during the Australia Nets Session at Emirates Old Trafford on September 02, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“If you ask to see the books, you just want them to be open and honest, and just show you that books to know what's going on so you can actually be make a fair assessment.

“Sometimes that gets lost. With cricket it has in the past. I know for a fact just talking to a few of the players in the NRL, sometimes that sort of clarity gets lost. You don't get to see everything that's going on.

“With all associations ... you just want clarity and openness,” he said.

“If you ask to see the books, you just want them to be open and honest, and just show you that books to know what's going on so you can actually be make a fair assessment.

“Sometimes that gets lost. With cricket it has in the past. I know for a fact just talking to a few of the players in the NRL, sometimes that sort of clarity gets lost. You don't get to see everything that's going on.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 06: Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates his century during day two of the Fourth Test Match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 06, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“Once you can get that and everyone can come to a reasonable decision … that's a big part of it.

“I'm sure this will work out, it has to, The footy season's coming in March and if it doesn't (work out), then we don't have footy.”

Khawaja's Brisbane Heat are on a roll as it stands, winning their last two, but Usman knows the side need a few more on the trot if they're going to sneak into the finals.

“We've won two games in a row, if we went three, four, I think we give ourselves a pretty good chance of making the (finals). If we can get five, I think we've definitely made it,” he said.