‘Fake news’: Sharks star slams false reports
Cronulla Sharks star Wade Graham has dismissed "disappointing" reports NRL players have been greedy and threatened to revolt during recent pay negotiations.
Like many other sporting organisations, the NRL has been forced to stand down staff and enforce pay cuts, including for the players. Reports broke on Thursday of a potential "player revolt", where the NRL's stars were planning to boycott a biosecurity education day over a pay dispute.
But Graham - who is also an RLPA board member - bluntly denied the reports on Sunday, labelling them "fake news" and "completely incorrect". Instead, he explained negotiations were primarily focused on clarifying the strict biosecurity measures.
"The narrative that was out there that it was all about the pay was completely incorrect, we have only seen over the weekend about the government regulations, we are still awaiting interstate policies," Graham told Nine's Sunday Footy Show.
"The biggest dispute around the May 4 training was if some of the dominoes didn't fall over, how does that look? The last thing we wanted was to commit to May 4 training when the other teams weren't able to be on the same page as us.
"All the players are united behind Peter V'landys and starting on the 28th May, and it was more so the information and waiting for the regulations to be passed by the government."
While safety remain a priority, Graham confirmed players were seeking 80 per cent of their pay for this season, which has been reduced due to COVID-19.
"That's pretty much on the mark, but it's still ongoing the negotiations with the broadcasters," Graham said.
"We are still waiting to hear more information on that, but we had a great discussion with Peter V'landys yesterday, and he certainly has given the majority of the playing group a big level of comfort.
"It is disappointing that was the narrative being reported when it couldn't be much further from the truth. It was a much broader discussion, and the one that annoyed me the most was that the players were trying to undermine Peter V'landys.
"He has done a wonderful job, he has gone into bat for the game and has done all he can to get it up and running, and we are right behind him.
"We are grateful for all the work he has been doing … that was the biggest thing that was frustrating for me."
Professional rugby league is shaping to be one of the first contact sports to return from lockdown, the NRL premiership scheduled to recommence on May 28th.
The New Zealand Warriors arrive in Australia on Sunday after they were granted permission from the Australian Government. The squad will train in Tamworth and undergo 14 days of isolation.
Originally published as 'Fake news': Sharks star slams false reports