Coronavirus: NRL players facing one final pay cheque – Raiders’ Hodgson

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Canberra Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson said NRL players are facing one final pay cheque as Australia’s rugby league competition feels the pinch due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NRL announced on Monday it was suspending its 2020 season until further notice amid the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed at least 21,200 people worldwide.

The financial impact is set to hit NRL clubs hard, like many sports and leagues around the world, and Englishman Hodgson is unsure what the future holds.

“There is a potential we may not get anything,” Hodgson said.

“We only finished playing last week. To say we might not even get paid in two weeks is a weird one.

“I think we are guaranteed one pay but after that I am not sure.”

The Raiders opened their new multi-million-dollar Centre of Excellence only three weeks ago, but it will shut down on Friday with all staff placed on indefinite leave.

“Some of that is paid, some of that is unpaid for those that don’t have any annual leave left,” Raiders CEO Don Furner said on Thursday.

“The coaching staff are here for another month and there’s uncertainty about what we’ll be doing with them after the end of April, more than likely they’ll be taking unpaid leave.

“We’ve got young staff here that are pregnant, just about to give birth, some have bought houses, some are not sure what their job prospects are and then the same with the football staff, there’s not a lot of jobs available in that space.

“With regards to the players, we’re still working with the NRL and the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) in terms of what will happen with their pays going forward.

“We’ve just moved into this facility here. It costs a lot to run and we’re shutting it down. We’re emptying the pools, cutting back on ground maintenance, cleaning services, all your regular services that you would normally utilise are all being cut back because we cannot afford to run this place.

“It’s magnificent, we only opened it three weeks ago, the staff are all moving in today and tomorrow from Bruce and that will be their last day.”