NRL players anxious over possible pay cut

Matt Encarnacion and Pamela Whaley
Roosters veteran Mitchell Aubusson has concerns over a possible coronavirus-related pay cut

Sydney Roosters veteran Mitchell Aubusson hopes to sit down with the players union in coming days to discuss the threat of a pay cut due to the coronavirus.

Aubusson was one of a number of NRL players who expressed concern on Tuesday about the financial implications of a suspended season.

It comes after details emerged about an 'act of God' clause in the collective bargaining agreement in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Under the clause, the league will be allowed to re-negotiate player salaries should the pandemic force the shut down of the competition.

"We'll probably have a sit down with the RLPA in the next day or two. They've kept us up to date pretty much up until (Monday)," Aubusson said.

"They have a few more meetings they have to get through before we all sit down as a group and have a chat about it.

"It's not just up to senior players. It's up to everybody and RLPA to work out where we stand on it and where they stand on it as a group, and we go from there."

Aubusson's comments come as it emerged players were privately growing anxious about mixed messages from league HQ about the pay cut threat.

NRL boss Todd Greenberg said the evolving situation had yet to reach that tipping point, however ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys said talks had begun.

Cronulla star Wade Graham said the financial implications of a suspended season meant he backed the league's decision to push on with the season.

And while he acknowledged comments made by Cameron Smith to put the season on hold, Graham said others were more dependent on regular cashflow.

"If you're an established player, and you've done the right thing with your money, you're sitting OK," Graham said.

"But some guys are living, not pay cheque to pay cheque, but they rely so much on their income. People who work in the club are no different.

"So we need to be really smart and do what's best for the majority of people."

Manly front-rower Addin Fonua-Blake said players should be paid no matter what.

"I feel as though if you sign a contract, and a contract says you'll be paid by x amount, you'll be owed x amount whether or not you play," he said.