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Stars back NRL fringe players in pay cut

Minimising the damage for fringe NRL players has been the chief concern for the players’ union in talks over pay cuts following the shutdown, according to league boss Todd Greenberg.

Every club’s top-30 players are expected to find out how much of a financial shave they will take when league officials and the players’ union finalise negotiations on Friday.

And while the cut is likely to be tiered according to how much they earn, it was the lower-income earners on each club’s roster who were of most concern to some of the game’s superstars.

Speaking on Fox League Mornings, Greenberg spoke glowingly of how some of the league’s elite were looking out for teammates on the minimum wage as the game battles a financial crisis caused by the season postponement amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rugby League Players Association president Cameron Smith was believed to be present in the meeting, as well as fellow directors Daly Cherry-Evans and Wade Graham.

“There wasn’t one of those players who were concerned about their own financial future,” Greenberg said on Thursday.

“The primary concern that came through on that call was, ‘What are we going to do about the players from numbers 20-30?’

“And, ‘How do we make sure they stay afloat during this six month period?’ It was a nice, warming thing to hear the players have that view around their colleagues.”

Greenberg went on to describe the important of the NRL and RLPA showing a united front in the midst of a global crisis hurting every corner of the world.

He re-iterated how league central sent 95 per cent of their employees home on leave for three weeks, while clubs are also working with skeleton staff.

When it comes to the players, there were suggestions they could take a 50 per cent pay cut that would result in a combined $50-million loss.

Greenberg was reluctant to speculate on a figure.

“When we went into the agreement with the players, the first thing we said and the agreement we made is they will get a percentage of the revenue,” he said.

“The players wanted to be genuine partners of the game, so they wanted to share in the game’s successes. So if the game does really well, they get a bigger slice.

“But in a genuine partnership, when the revenue goes down, you have to be aware that your percentage is going to drop with that.

“That’s the conversation we’re having with the players.”

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