Peter V'landys claims he didn't consult players before implementing the NRL's high-tackle crackdown because he believed urgent action was needed and he was only acting in their best interests.
The chasm between the NRL and players' union has only widened in recent days, amid media reports of a push from senior players to remove V'landys as chairman.
Rugby League Players Association general president Daly Cherry-Evans stopped short of that call, but demanded V'landys listen to the players on key issues.
Crucially, the incumbent Kangaroos captain questioned why players weren't consulted before the crackdown began during Magic Round.
But V'landys claimed on Monday he was so alarmed by the rise in head shots - which included up to seven-times more charges than in 2017 - that there was little time to consult players.
"Naturally I respect what Daly Cherry-Evans says ... you can always do things better in hindsight," V'landys told AAP.
"But for me it was an urgent matter that needed addressing.
"It was our strategy as a commission since February. Everyone knew we would be addressing the head injury matter.
"When it's a safety matter I don't know why anyone wouldn't welcome that someone is looking at the safety of (the players)."
V'landys also claimed that his door had been left open for senior players since meeting with RLPA chief executive Clint Newton after Magic Round.
He says that invitation to meet wasn't accepted.
But it's understood the players' union are waiting to collate a list of agenda items before representatives meet, to ensure the chance is given for direct answers.
The union insists it supports anything to protect players, but frustrations stem from a feeling the game has regularly not sought their advice on key issues.
Players felt they were also not consulted before rule changes at the end of last year, including further efforts to speed up the games with extra set-restart rules.
Damien Cook and Luke Keary both sit on the NRL's innovations committee, but the union does not hold a seat like it had in the now-dismantled competition committee.
They are also frustrated that the league did not listen to Newton's push that fatigue had become a factor in foul play after Magic Round, with the NRL releasing figures just days later arguing it wasn't an issue.
Realistically, V'landys' role is under no serious threat after his efforts to keep the NRL alive during COVID-19,.
But the game's chairman is also making no apologies for his current stance.
"I'm there to make decisions and give leaderships. I'm not there to be weak," V'landys said.
"I would be very happy to leave the job knowing that I left because I introduced a better quality of life after football.
"If I left because of that I would be a happy man.
"I don't want to disrespect the players, the irony of the whole situation is I am only looking after their best interests.
"I've done all this - which has put stress in my life - to help them. Not to hurt them."