NRL stars are reportedly planning to boycott a return to training on Monday in solidarity with the New Zealand-based Warriors.
The Sydney Morning Herald and Channel 9 reports players had a phone hook-up on Wednesday night with the Rugby League Players Association where they agreed not to go to training on May 4, throwing a spanner in the works of the league's plan to restart its season on May 28 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The players are considering the decision because no new pay deal has been finalised between them and the NRL, even though they were promised that would be delivered earlier this week.
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Nine reports the NRL has now told the players a revised pay structure won't be given to them until next week. This is because of commercial complexities involving negotiations with TV partners Nine and Foxtel after a broadcast deal was reached for a 20-round season.
The uncertainty around pay caused Warriors players, led by captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, to question their next move. The NRL has applied for a special government exemption, yet to be officially granted, for the Kiwi side to fly into Australia, where they would then spend two weeks in quarantine.
Warriors players and staff have prepared to fly out on Sunday but Sheck and Co. reportedly spoke up last night about not wanting to travel without an assurance of a pay deal that would allow the season to go ahead.
Senior players from the Roosters and Melbourne, including former Queensland captain Cameron Smith, backed the Warriors' stance.
A return to training on May 4 was announced as part of the timeline aiming for a May 28 restart to allow clubs enough time to prepare and get their heads around strict isolation measures.
Monday was mooted as a day for NRL players and staff to undergo mandatory biosecurity briefings, so any extended delay in that might cause the season restart date to be postponed.