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Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans has declared the RLPA is the strongest it has ever been after joining Canberra forward Sia Soliola and Titans centre Dale Copley on the board as player directors.

The trio have been appointed to fill casual board vacancies after emerging through the RLPA’s player advisory group and delegate structure to progress into director roles.

Cherry-Evans and Copley will attend the inaugural RLPA Leaders in League conference from this Thursday, which will assist in further developing the current leaders within the NRL playing group.

“A strong and respected association is beneficial not only for players, but for the game as a whole,” Cherry-Evans said.

“Ensuring that the playing group continues to have a voice on the key issues, whilst also having access to adequate support, are some of the areas that I’m passionate about further advancing.

Raiders veteran Sia Soliola.
Raiders veteran Sia Soliola. ©Keegan Carroll/NRL Photos

“In my view, the RLPA is in the strongest position it has ever been and I’m proud to be joining the board.”

More than 40 players from across the NRL and NRLW competitions  will take part in the three-day RLPA Leaders in League conference – many of whom are part of the RLPA board, player advisory group or delegate structure.

The conference, focused on leadership and connection, will provide players an opportunity for personal and professional development through a series of workshops and guest speakers. 

The RLPA’s aim is to grow the group’s leadership capabilities, which is intended to have broader benefits for not only players, but clubs and the game.

Soliola, who enjoyed success on and off the field this year including receiving the Ken Stephen Medal for his outstanding community work and playing his 200th NRL match, said he looked forward to applying his knowledge in this role with the RLPA.

“I’ve been in the game for quite some time now and I think that I can give back to the collective by providing guidance and advice to the RLPA,” Soliola said.

“Joining the board will be good for my professional development and hopefully I can also help the RLPA continue to grow in coming years.

“It’s important that we develop a respectful partnership between the RLPA and the NRL, as I believe this will help rugby league in the future.”

Copley also said the role enabled him to continue his personal development.

“The responsibility associated with the role of a director is something that I’m fully committed to delivering on as I’m passionate about ensuring the RLPA continues to provide a valuable service to its members,” Copley said.

RLPA chair, Dr Deidre Anderson, was confident each of the trio would add value to the board in their own unique way.

Titans centre Dale Copley surges down the field.
Titans centre Dale Copley surges down the field. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

“To have the calibre of players such as Daly, Sia and Dale striving for greater involvement with the Association is a great sign for the future of the RLPA,” Dr Anderson said.

“All three individuals have already established themselves as leaders within the game and will add considerable value to the strategic direction of the association.”

The RLPA constitution allows for the appointment of casual vacancies by the board with a formal election by the members taking place at the AGM in early 2020.

James Maloney’s and Jeremy Latimore’s terms as directors will formally expire at the next AGM, in accordance with the RLPA constitution.