The NRL will allow clubs to sign replacement players for stars injured in representative games as soon as this year's State of Origin series in the latest salary cap shake-up.

In a move that would have allowed the Raiders to draft in cover for England star Josh Hodgson, who was hurt in last year's World Cup, clubs will now be compensated for long-term injuries suffered by their marquee men while on Test, Origin or All-Stars duty.

League Central will offer salary cap exemption on a dollar-for-dollar basis to players who will be sidelined for 12 weeks or more up to a value of $350,000 from next month when the Origin series begins in Melbourne.

Amidst a wave of lobbying from some clubs fearful of losing their biggest assets while they earn higher honours with little return, the NRL has tried to break down some of that resistance with its latest proposal.

The plan was presented to club bosses at Tuesday's chief executives conference in Sydney and will need to be signed off at the next Australian Rugby League Commission meeting on June 7.

It will be retrospectively applied for any long-term injuries suffered in Origin I the night before.

It seems a mere formality that the game's independent commissioners will tick off the move, which could have in theory provided the Cowboys with a replacement for Johnathan Thurston on their unlikely march to the NRL grand final last year.

The NRL will impose strict conditions on what injuries qualify for salary cap relief and will require medical evidence that a player didn't carry a pre-existing condition into a representative game before suffering a long-term injury.

But the Raiders could have had last summer to find a $350,000 hooking alternative to Hodgson, who ruptured his ACL playing for England in the World Cup, under the new scheme.

"Clubs place significant investments in their players, so it stands to reason that we would attempt to compensate them as much as possible for instances where their players have suffered long-term injuries while they are on representative duties," NRL chief operating officer Nick Weeks said.

"Ultimately we want to support representative football but provide adequate on-field compensation. There are some strong parameters around the relief, but we certainly view this proposal as being fair to all parties."

If a top-30 roster spot is available for a club seeking salary cap relief, an injured player must be stood down for 12 regular season rounds to bring in a replacement.

He must be a like-for-like player and his contract value the same as the man he's replacing on a pro rata basis and not exceeding $350,000.

If a club does not have a top-30 spot available it can sign a replacement as a 31st squad member, but its injured player has to be ruled out for the rest of the season.

There is no limit on how many replacement players a club may sign for long-term injuries suffered in representative games, but it must also consider the financial impact of doing so.

It will somewhat allay the fears of clubs who have fretted about sending their England and New Zealand stars to Denver for the historic mid-season Test with the prospect of no compensation if they were to suffer a serious injury.

The NRL consulted a range of professional American sports as well as the English Super League and Premiership Rugby before deciding on the conditions of its long-term injury replacement scheme for representative players.

It figured 12 games was an appropriate timeframe, given it constituted half a season and is generally the amount of games clubs need to win to make the finals, while $350,000 is the average salary of an NRL player over the next broadcast cycle.

"I think it's been an ongoing discussion," NRL salary cap auditor Richard Gardham said. "From my perspective, there hasn't been one particular incident that has raised it where we've said, 'we've got to do it because of this'.

"I think it's a broader piece around some level of compensation for clubs for developing players, training players, paying players to play NRL and the player then gets rewarded with a rep jersey. It's giving the club some form of compensation from a cap perspective."

All NRL clubs have to lock in their 30-man rosters by June 30 but will be allowed to raid English Super League clubs for injury replacements if they were to suffer a season-ending injury in Origin III.

Other alternatives include elevating development list players or procuring talent outside the NRL clubs.