first_imgRugby League NRL players have been told to expect a 20 per cent cut to their annual salary with the governing body moving towards finalising a new broadcast deal as early as Friday. After the Sydney Morning Herald revealed players were set to revolt against the code’s plans to return to training on Monday until a pay deal was agreed, NRL powerbrokers acted to finalise arrangements with the players. Players have since been told to work off a worst-case 52 per cent pay cut over the final five months of their deal, which works out to be a 20 per cent cut to their annual salaries. Players are guaranteed next month’s pay in full, however they could be asked to absorb an anticipated 20 per cent drop in broadcast revenue for the months of June to October. The NRL is expecting federal and New South Wales government exemptions on Friday that would allow the New Zealand Warriors to enter the country and be based in Tamworth ahead of a competition restart on May 28. The Warriors players have refused to travel until a pay deal is agreed, and have support from their peers in Australia. Some of the game’s most senior figures, including Melbourne captain Cameron Smith, backed the Warriors’ stance in an emotion-charged phone hook-up between the players on Wednesday night, preparing not to show for Monday’s mandatory biosecurity and protocols briefing. It was agreed in the meeting of RLPA club delegates that no players would return before the NRL announced how much the players would be paid for the rest of the year, a decision that the players had agreed to keep from their clubs. When contacted by the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday morning, one club chief executive said he was unaware of the proposed boycott. Clubs were also waiting for the NRL to finalise the broadcast deal for their own plans. Warriors players Blake Green, Adam Blair and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck spoke on behalf of their teammates when they reiterated that they wouldn’t leave New Zealand, even with an exemption to enter Australia, until the pay structure was agreed. The Warriors have spent the past month in lockdown under New Zealand government restrictions, and aren’t willing to take a chance on having to spend 14 days in isolation if the NRL is unable to strike a deal. That would leave them in limbo, away from their families, facing another 14 days of strict isolation back in New Zealand if the competition is delayed. While the NRL is confident it will get the necessary approvals to start the 20-round season on May 28, the Warriors will not leave it to chance. As reported by the Herald yesterday morning, Channel Nine has indicated to the NRL it wants to pay A$90 million (K202.5m) of the A$118 million it is contracted to pay in 2020. – AAPlast_img