NRL 2020: NZ Warriors stars chip in to help club staff keep jobs

NZ Warriors' leadership group are dipping into their own pockets to help office staff at the NRL club, while the competition is shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

With the NRL out of action, teams are cutting costs to save money, with six first-grade coaches stood down by their clubs. 

They are just some of the hundreds of combined staff across each club and associated leagues establishments to be sent home, with some forced to line up for Government handouts.

But to avoid some Warriors staff having to do the same, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and senior players Blake Green, Tohu Harris and Adam Blair approached team officials on Wednesday, offering to reach into their own wallets to help the club's 70 staff. 

The Warriors have endured a tough start to the 2020 season, with injuries hampering their pre-season, before they were forced to relocate to Australia when New Zealand shut its borders. 

The team is back in New Zealand and currently in isolation. 

Green told Stuff that the club's senior players wanted to show front office staff that they were in this crisis together.

"It's tough times for everyone in society, not just the NRL, and we've got so many fantastic people in our footy club," Green explained. 

"Our football staff are like many other NRL clubs - they could potentially be on leave without pay for three months or longer, if the game doesn't return this year.

"We thought that, as a playing group, we could show our support. We've got a players' fund that we put money into every month, and that pays for us to go to a team lunch or a team activity.

"We decided that we'd make a bigger contribution into that pool this month and offer that money to the club.

"There are plenty of staff at the club who have young families and like everyone else, they're going to do it tough.

"The amount of money isn't going to match what's lost, but it's more the message behind it - that we're in this together. When your mates are hurting or need help, you help them out."

Warriors boss Cameron George.
Warriors boss Cameron George. Photo credit: Photosport

Club chief executive Cameron George said he was overwhelmed by the offer from the players.

"When Blake contacted me yesterday and said the guys wanted to propose this, between Roger, Blake, Tohu and Adam, it just blew me away," George said.

"To have the playing group put the club first in this difficult situation, it's mind-blowing.

"What they've been through over the last few weeks with their families... words can't describe."

Last year, Tuivasa-Sheck was listed as the third-highest paid player in the NRL, earning $1.1 million a season. 

The NRL and the Rugby League Players' Association have been in talks this week to discuss the financial impact of the current season suspension on players. 

The Sydney Morning Herald claims players will be asked to take an 87 percent pay cut to ensure the survival of the sport.

The 2020 NRL season won't resume until June at the earliest. 

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