Newton gets isolation as first RLPA task

Scott Bailey

Clint Newton will take over as Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) chief executive with the former forward's first task being to help sort the NRL's self-isolation guidelines.

Newton will replace Ian Prendergast as the boss of the union, with the ex-Newcastle, Melbourne and Penrith player to take over officially from Monday.

However, he has been involved in NRL meetings all week and the game's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and will continue to be over the weekend.

The NRL and union on Friday were still discussing the exact measures put around players outside of training and games, with athletes told to take a common-sense approach to their self-isolation in the meantime.

Those guidelines are expected to be reviewed by players over the weekend, before the league and the union meet again next week to nail down the specifics.

"I'm not quite sure where you start and where you finish," Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said on Friday.

"Does that mean you can't go out and buy a coffee?

"We continue to want the competition to go on as normal and everyone wants that without a doubt but we're looking to change the players' lives.

"There's got to be a bit of a balance there."

The RLPA has also been working closely with Warriors players this week as they remain in camp in Kingscliff as part of their indefinite stay in Australia.

The union might also face challenges if games are called off, with pay cuts one possibility if the NRL starts losing revenue.

Newton's rise to the top of the RLPA comes after a long association with the union.

He was involved heavily through his career, and was elected general president while still playing for Penrith in 2013.

The 38-year-old was made a life member of the RLPA last year and was endorsed by Prendergast, director Daly Cherry-Evans and chair Deidre Anderson.

"It's a great honour to be appointed CEO of the Rugby League Players' Association," Newton said.

"Being presented with an opportunity to advance the game by representing players means a significant amount to me.

"While this appointment is pleasing for me on a personal level, the gravity of the situation that the game is currently facing is significant.

"But the RLPA team is steadfast with their commitment to help navigate the players through these difficult times.

"We will get through this together."

Prendergast served as CEO for four-and-a-half years and in the highly publicised 2017 pay dispute.

He will join AFL club Carlton as chief commercial officer.