Rugby league great Gorden Tallis says players are “pissing the fans off” with their ongoing pay dispute with the NRL.
Negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) have dragged on over the summer, with players now reportedly threating to delay the start of trial matches this weekend and cover NRL logos.
The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has set a deadline of Thursday afternoon for a number of non-financial aspects of the proposed agreement.
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The issue exploded on Tuesday, with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age breaking the news of a letter sent to ARLC boss Peter V’landys by the RLPA, alleging a senior employee of the NRL recorded a closed meeting with players last Friday.
Speaking on the Footy Talk Rugby League podcast, Tallis said the players were out of line.
“Listen, you would only be worried if you’re getting recorded if you’re saying something wrong,” he said.
“I get recorded for six hours every week – it doesn’t worry me. I couldn’t give a rat’s.”
The former Queensland State of Origin captain hit out at players who have used social media to fight the battle with the NRL.
“What do you mean a show of disrespect? They’re the ones that are airing all the dirty laundry,” he fumed.
“All negotiations should be behind closed doors – it doesn’t help anybody. They’re allowed to go and flood their social media.
”The players don’t survive without the fans, and at the moment they’re pissing the fans off.
“They go out and they dig holes all day for $30 and $40 an hour. They see these guys as pretentious little you know, all on this million dollars a year.”
Tallis also argued that if the game’s stars were so concerned about the lower-paid players, they could take a pay cut to fund an across-the-board increase.
“Give back 200 hundred grand,” he said.
“It’s happened at some clubs, where we’ve all taken a pay cut and it does happen.
“If you really like a guy, you go, take 20 (thousand) off mine. Right? We’ve done that if you’re that worried.
“You’ve gone and negotiated your price. They’ve all got the money that they want. They are well paid.
“Stop playing it out in the paper. Get your business done behind closed doors.”
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