Knights prop David Klemmer says players have a responsibility to cop a pay cut and share in the financial burden confronting the game and vowed everyone at the club would "band together and stick solid" until the coronavirus crisis is over.
For the first time since Monday's sudden announcement by the NRL to suspend the competition indefinitely, Knights players met with officials Phil Gardner and Danny Buderus and coach Adam O'Brien yesterday to be briefed on the latest developments and the plan moving forward.
A whole range of topics were discussed, including the possibility of the competition kicking off again later in the year and the training measures that will be put in place to ensure the squad is ready to hit the ground running should that be the case.
Pay cuts were also high on the agenda with Klemmer claiming in his exclusive column in Thursday's Newcastle Herald that the players were shocked to learn that all Knights staff, including coach Adam O'Brien and his football department, had been stood down without pay until such time as the competition resumes.
"That news was obviously very disappointing to hear," he says. "These people have families and mortgages as well, so it's really disappointing to know they are in this situation.
"I think Phil [CEO Gardner] is going to do the best he possibly can to look after everyone and whatever he is going to do, I'm sure he'll do his best. But this sort of thing is worldwide and right throughout society, way bigger than just rugby league.
"As players, we are going to have to cop a haircut as well.
"We don't know what that will be yet and a lot of the boys are stressing over it, and rightly so because everyone's got commitments. But we have a responsibility to share some of the burden of all this."
There have been suggestions players could be asked to take a 50 per cent pay cut, similar to AFL players.
But Knights players have been told not to read too much into any speculation surrounding the extent of the cut with the NRL and the RLPA [players' union] understood to be still thrashing out the details.
"We wanted to know that sort of stuff today but I think Friday is when we will find out for sure," Klemmer said.
"There's been a lot of speculation in the media about what may or may not happen but I think on Friday we'll have a lot better idea of what's actually going to happen in that regard. We don't want to buy into the speculation about what we are going to lose.
"If you keep thinking about that, it just stresses the boys out even more. But no-one is immune. I think the whole world is stressing about the financial cost of this virus. The important thing for us is to just wait to hear the right information."
Klemmer said tentative plans were in place regarding training but admitted there was still no clarity around whether the squad would be able to train in small groups or have to train on their own.
"We want to stay fit and healthy and ready to go because if it comes back in June, we want to be ready and if it comes back in September, we want to be ready," he said.
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