NRL flag salary cuts to slash cost base

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NRL DRAGONS TIGERS

Dragons star Ben Hunt says players may have to accept pay cuts as NRL battles to balance the books

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg insists pay cuts across the board are a very real possibility for players and staff if the game is to survive the financial implications of suspending the season.

On Monday afternoon the NRL made the dramatic decision to suspend games indefinitely in the face of the growing coronavirus crisis, throwing the future of the code into doubt.

While confirming the league is still able to pay players, further meetings with the Rugby League Players Association will centre around reducing salaries in line with the collective bargaining agreement.

Greenberg said resetting the costs of running the game will require everyone, including executives, to compromise.

"This is a moment in time where the game's cost base needs to be reset, and that cost base is across the entire sport, from players, clubs, central administration - everyone has a role to play," he said,

"If we're being realistic about what we're facing, the resetting of the cost base is across the whole game, and that includes every single one of (us involved in NRL), including myself."

That need to tighten the purse strings is recognised by the players, as the game bleeds $13 million for each round abandoned.

Clubs have already taken a hit with locked-out stadiums, while the forced closure of leagues clubs under strict new laws will also hurt the bottom line.

St George Illawarra star Ben Hunt conceded he would be willing to take a pay cut to keep the NRL and clubs viable.

Hunt, whose salary exceeds $1 million per season, said players would be willing to fall in line if necessary.

"If we have to take a little cut then so be it," he said.

"There are a lot of people out there who are going to be doing it a lot harder than us and losing their jobs completely.

"If we just have to take a pay cut at some stage then that is the way it's going to be, and life will go on."

Hunt's views were echoed by teammate Corey Norman, while Storm star Cameron Munster conceded on Sunday that a drop in salary is a possibility in the current climate.

"I'm easy come, easy go," Norman said. "If it means we can still play then yeah (I would be OK with pay cuts)."