By Tim Elbra
37 minutes ago
NRL players will refuse to return to training next Monday if a pay agreement isn’t reached for the revamped season.
Nine’s Neil Breen broke the story on Thursday, after team captains spoke on Wednesday night. The impasse focuses primarily on the New Zealand Warriors, who are meant to travel through Australian quarantine barriers to resume their place in the competition.
NRL training was meant to resume on May 4, ahead of the season’s planned restart on May 28. Those plans have been thrown into doubt by the players’ stance.
“The reason is they do not have a new pay deal with the NRL. The players were promised by the NRL that by yesterday they would receive many things, including all the biosecurity details, all the new rules they had to live by; also, a new pay deal,” Breen said on Nine News.
"They were informed by the NRL that wouldn’t be able to be given to them for about a week, because while they had agreement with the broadcasters - Nine and Fox Sports - to start the season on May 28, they don’t have commercial agreements with the broadcasters. They’re toing and froing over how much money they will pay.
Storm captain Cameron Smith, the Rugby League Players Association president. (Getty)
"It was then that a delegation from the Warriors, led by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Blake Green, they told the call, ‘Hang on a second, the NRL’s not kept up its end of the bargain here. We were supposed to learn by today, they want us to relocate to Australia on Sunday and go into quarantine for two weeks. We’re not going to do that, we’re not going to travel, because if the deal falls over at a later date, then we’ll be stuck in quarantine in Australia with no reason to be there’.
"They were then backed by players from other clubs, led by Cam Smith from the Melbourne Storm. A delegation from the Roosters backed them and they agreed unanimously that until the NRL came through with a pay deal, that they wouldn’t train on Monday.
“The players are extremely concerned about the public perception of this move from them, but they have done it in solidarity with their brothers from the Warriors, who do not want to separate from their families and relocate in Australia without the NRL meeting its end of the bargain.”