Super Netball coach's call for NRL players to 'toughen up' over pay

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
NSW Swifts coach Briony Akle has clipped NRL players over their lengthy pay-cut negotiations. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

NRL players speaking out about potential pay-cuts have been given a reality check from NSW Swifts coach Briony Akle.

Akle, who took over as coach of the Swifts in 2017, said it was ‘frustrating to watch’ the lengthy pay debate between the NRL and its players during an interview with Sydney Morning Herald reporter Sarah Keoghan.

Super Netball players were asked to take a 70 per cent pay cut at the end of March to the the global coronavirus pandemic, with many contracts already worth only a $30,000 minimum wage salary.

'I DIDN’T THINK TWICE': Rugby ace apologises after breaching isolation rules

'DAY OR TWO AWAY': UFC's plan to hold events on private island

“The netballers went straight to a 70 per cent pay cut, they asked very little questions and just got on with it,” Akle said.

“If we're comparing codes, the guys, they're still doing really well and I understand that they've got mortgages to pay as well, but when you compare - our top salary is probably $100,000.

“Toughen up and see the bigger picture for what it is.”

Netball staff reduced by half, executive pay slashed

In addition to players accepting heavy pay reductions, Netball Australia and Suncorp Super have cut half their staff, and those that remain are operating on reduced hours.

The chief executives of both organisations, Marne Fechner and Chris Symington, have also had their pay reduced by half.

“It's quite frustrating to watch and think, 'well yep, the netballers went straight to a 70 per cent pay cut'," Akle said.

“If you put all your eggs in one basket your sport will collapse, and I think that's definitely something that netball hasn't done.”

International players return home amid virus pandemic

Super Netball stars have dispersed far and wide, with players moving intestate and overseas since the start of the 2020 competition was put on hold.

The eight-team competition scheduled to start in May, was last week deferred until to at least June 30 because of the evolving coronavirus pandemic.

Among the internationals to have left Australia are English stars Layla Guscoth of the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Sydney Swifts' Natalie Haythornthwaite.

Two of Guscoth's Thunderbirds' teammates Lenize Potgieter and Shadine van der Merwe, have gone back to South Africa.

Four Jamaican players scattered across different teams are staying together in Perth.

A number of Australian players have headed interstate to return home before any border restrictions and quarantine periods kicked in.

Two of the 2019 title-winning NSW Swifts South Australian reared stars Maddy Turner and Maddy Proud moved back to Adelaide the day before quarantine rules were introduced and teammate Sophie Garbin returned to Perth.

With AAP