Origin talks to follow NRL rescue package

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys (front) is poised to deliver a rescue package for the NRL.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys (front) is poised to deliver a rescue package for the NRL.

The NRL will present a revised payment schedule for players and clubs on Monday, with the viability of State of Origin and cuts to match payments to follow once the first level of certainty is achieved.

At a meeting with all 16 clubs, ARLC chairman Peter V'landys will present his plan to slash costs from NRL headquarters in a move expected to hand players an additional $7 million for this year.

The Rugby League Players' Association has been negotiating with the NRL for wage cuts to keep the game alive through the toughest financial challenge it has ever faced.

A model for an 87 per cent drop in wages for the coming months due to the coronavirus suspension has already been presented, based on a worst case scenario.

However, the rescue package to be presented by V'landys at Monday's meeting is set to take the original offer of $12.4 million for players for the rest of the season up to around $20 million.

The worst case scenario is the NRL is not able to continue the season in 2020, which would force the players and clubs to take a huge financial hit.

But NRL bosses are hopeful of being able to continue the season later in the year and finishing in December, with staging Origin also a financial priority.

Every option will be up for discussion between the RLPA and the NRL following Monday's meeting, where immediate clarity is needed around a new financial structure depending on variations of the NRL and representative schedule.

The cost of playing a State of Origin series will be discussed given the 34 players have recently been paid $30,000 per game, which equates to $3 million in match payments alone.

The three-match series is also the showpiece in the NRL's schedule and generates upwards of $100 million for the game each year.

Wade Graham, who sits on the RLPA board of directors, told Triple M on Saturday that the cost of playing Origin will need to be weighed against the potential windfall of cash it could provide the game.

"I think if you look at it in terms of (what it costs to put on the games), it's probably down the order of priorities," he said.

"But if you work out if they're willing to put an Origin series on to source some more revenue to come into the game, to split with the whole group, it's a different conversation.

"It's one of the different scenarios that have all been on the table, trying to discuss.

"Once this virus is hopefully controlled, and we don't have a time frame for that, what does the other side look like? And no one really knows.

"It's just trying to account for all different scenarios. The first outcome is trying to work out April 1 when the players are expecting to be paid and what that looks like."

Meanwhile, it's understood the RLPA is pushing for a tiered pay cut system, where the highest earning players in the game would take the biggest hit, which would taper down to those earning minimum wage.

Australian Associated Press