NRL start not in doubt with training delay

Pamela Whaley and Scott Bailey
ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys says the May 28 start date is not in danger despite training concerns

NRL players have confirmed they will attend training on Monday for a biosecurity education session, but have given no guarantees for Tuesday as they digest what will be required of them.

After a meeting with the RLPA on Friday morning, ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys told AAP a proposed start date of May 28 is not in danger no matter when players return to training.

Players will be paid 80 per cent of their original 2020 wage in an offer tabled by the NRL, who are still yet to have certainty over finances as broadcast negotiations continue.

V'landys also confirmed players need better communication from the NRL over their rights and responsibilities so they can better abide by strict protocols once training resumes.

Friday's meeting appears to have soothed tensions between the two parties after reports of a player revolt and a pay dispute emerged on Thursday.

"At the end of it they were really after clarity more than anything else," V'landys told AAP.

"There was no demands.

"We need to do better in communication, but it's just we're in a difficult period at the moment to try and get all the information together to try and provide that communication.

"They're like anyone else in the community, they have their own personal stressors.

"They just need to know some answers, and I provided those answers today.

"We're united as a game to get started on the 28th of May and they were fully committed to that and they couldn't have been more supportive and enthusiastic."

A draft of strict biosecurity guidelines devised by Project Apollo landed with clubs on Sunday night, with rules to to apply for up to 50 staff and players when they return to training.

Questions have been raised over whether players and staff can take their kids to school, attend hospital visits with pregnant partners or take their dogs for a walk.

On Friday, RLPA chief executive Clint Newton said players need time to understand what is involved in the daily reporting required and the impact the protocols will have on their families.

"They've been living a certain way for a few weeks and it's about introducing a new way of operating and ensuring they're doing all they can to keep themselves safe," he said.

V'landys has agreed players will be free to absorb the information in Monday's education session and return to training when they are comfortable, and it will not impact the competition restart date.

He also confirmed changes can be made to the biosecurity guidelines beyond Monday if needed with the help of relevant health authorities.

"The protocols are obviously necessary and really sophisticated, so what the players wanted to ensure is that they take all those on and work through a really thorough process and then commence training once everyone understands," Newton said.

"That may be Tuesday, it may be Wednesday afternoon, but there's nothing that's holding the process up.

"It's more just making sure everyone understands the obligations and the expectations and then how they're going to be supported through that."