Reports from across the tasman suggest rugby league's independent commission could collapse and a breakaway competition form as the NRL's clubs threaten rebellion.
Clubs have demanded their annual grants be increased from next season before they sign a licensing agreement with the NRL.
That claim would represent an injection of more than $43 million NZ, but the reports say the NRL has only $23 million in cash reserves.
The independent commission was expected to finally take control of the game at the start of November.
Delays to its start-up have angered the clubs, who are eager for negotiations on a rich new broadcast deal to be accelerated.
The reports say the cash grab from clubs could cripple the commission, while clubs could even consider starting their own breakaway league if News Ltd and the Australian Rugby League don't accept their demands.