Coaches association want seat at NRL table

The newly-formed NRL coaches association wants a say in what football departments will look like under an NRL cost restructure.

New Sharks Coach JOHN MORRIS arrives for a Cronulla Sharks NRL press conference at Sharks leagues Club in Sydney, Australia.
New Sharks Coach JOHN MORRIS arrives for a Cronulla Sharks NRL press conference at Sharks leagues Club in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

They might be only eight weeks old, but the NRL coaches association want a seat at the table when football departments are restructured following the coronavirus-inspired shutdown.

As the league continues to work through the implications of an unprecedented suspension of its season, a number of coaches have been ordered to take leave.

Cronulla head coach John Morris on Wednesday joined counterparts Ivan Cleary, Dean Pay and Adam O'Brien to be stood down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The remaining head coaches are expected to follow.

It is believed some football staff have also been forced into taking leave without pay, or entered negative leave.

Rugby League Coaches Association chief executive Kelly Egan revealed almost a third of the league's head coaches have already contacted the RLCA.

"We've been across the majority of our membership just to check in across how they're going," Egan told AAP on Wednesday.

While most coaches have been instructed to take leave, all are likely to remain focused on ensuring their players are ready to go if and when the season restarts.

The NRL informed clubs on Tuesday that it has designed scenarios for resumptions at the beginning of June, July, August, and as late as September.

Egan said the coaches' biggest concern will be how their departments look like should the competition get up and running again.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys and NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg have already flagged a significant cost restructuring of the game.

Egan is adamant the newly-formed coaches association, whose NRL funding has been halted, should be involved in the discussions.

"It's a good opportunity to support each other from a coaching collective," he said.

"If there are decisions being made about what football departments look like, how coaches are going to be employed moving forward, the resources that we're going to be able to put around coaches - which in turn provide a better playing product - we need to be in that conversation."

The RLCA also want a say in the prospect of coaches taking pay cuts.

The NRL is already meeting with the Rugby League Players Association about the likelihood of the current $9.6 million salary cap being reduced.

Coaches salaries are believed to be included in a $5.93 million football department spend, with a tax of 37.5 per cent for every dollar over the limit.

"There's been a lot of discussion around making sure players are looked after and players are catered for. The RLPA's at the table," Egan said.

"That just reflects where we are from a maturity perspective as a start-up. We're not at that table at the moment because we'd only been going eight weeks.

"It's a big opportunity for us to talk to clubs on behalf of a group of people invested in the game."


AAP