AAP Rugby

NRL players to discover pay cuts by Friday

By AAP Newswire

NRL players are expected to find out by the end of the week how much the coronavirus crisis will affect their pay packets.

League officials on Wednesday began discussions with the players' union to determine the impact the season's enforced suspension on player salaries.

The talks come as hundreds more club staff, including head coaches John Morris and Paul Green, were ordered to take paid and unpaid leave.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and his Rugby League Players Association counterpart Clint Newton were locked in talks for more than two hours.

Also at the table were club bosses Paul White (Brisbane), Blake Solly (South Sydney), Joe Kelly (Sydney Roosters) and Andrew Hill (Canterbury).

Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans was among a host of high-profile players present during the phone hook-up.

There were claims late on Wednesday that the players were asked to replicate their AFL counterparts and agree to a 50 per cent reduction in their salaries.

Those figures were immediately rejected by the RLPA.

Complicating negotiations is that, unlike the AFL who have suspended their season until May 31, the NRL have shut down their season indefinitely.

The RLPA updated players on Wednesday afternoon, with details expected to be finalised with league central on Friday.

There is a sense of urgency to find a resolution so that clubs can sort out their own financial issues for their employees.

"The conversations we started today are intended to resolve as quickly as possible what the current no-games situation means for players," Greenberg said.

"We are trying to map out what is next in unbelievably difficult circumstances.

"To do this, we need to be transparent and honest, combined with the trust and confidence of the players.

"This means we will have hard conversations now, for the future good of the game. The NRL and the players are absolutely aligned in our desire to ensure the game gets through this crisis."

Greenberg's comments comes after revelations the governing body spends roughly $30 million a month in running costs.

And with just $150 million in cash reserves - and the NRL's promise of a combined $60 million to clubs over the next three months - the well could dry up by July.

Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher explained the figures to his playing group before they were sent home for an indefinite period on Wednesday.

"I explained to them all the way money falls from Fox and Nine and then to the NRL and the clubs and to the players," Fletcher said on Fox League Live.

"If it's a dollar from (broadcasters) Fox and Nine combined and it falls to 80 cents to the NRL and then the clubs and the players, well you get a 20 per cent pay cut.

"They fully understand that.

"They've been very understanding for us because all the other staff have been put off. They know they are in for a hair cut, they don't know how big it is."

Newton, who was only appointed to the role last week, said the union remains determined to look after its members.

"These are clearly difficult times but we are determined to get through this together. We will always look after our people and ensuring the appropriate support is available moving forward is key," Newton said.