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Players pay to help staff keep jobs

Warriors players have taken the incredibly selfless step of dipping into their own pockets to help the club stay afloat and staff keep their jobs.

Stuff can reveal that the leadership group at the club decided on Wednesday that they would donate their own money as CEO Cameron George looks to save as many jobs as possible while the NRL is shut down.

Across the world professional sportsmen and women are preparing to take pay cuts while the coronavirus pandemic has suspended all competitions.

But it's new for players to have been willing to take a pay cut while also giving money to their club to help it survive.

Warriors halfback Blake Green said the club's senior players wanted to show the front office staff that they're 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 told Stuff. 

"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."

Green said he and other players in the leadership group, who are all in isolation, discussed what they could do to support the club.

"We saw at the beginning of the week that a few other clubs had made the decision to put their footy staff on leave without pay." he said.

"I rang Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck), Tohu (Harris) and Adam (Blair) and suggested it. 

"At the moment we face a lot of uncertainty as well and there's a big chance that this month is our last pay as well until the game resumes.

"But while we've still got the chance to provide some assistance to our footy club, we need to show our staff that we care and support them."

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.

"I haven't read of any other playing group in any other sport propose this.

"But what I said to Blake is that it's amazing you want to do this, but if the players' salaries take a cut, then we don't expect players to continue to do this. 

"While they are being paid in full, I'm happy for them to do what they've proposed for the club and the staff.

"But as soon as they take any cut, which is in the pipeline, the last thing they need to be doing is this, because they'll be in the same position as everyone else."

For the Warriors players to make such a selfless offer says a lot about the culture at the club and how much it has improved under the leadership of Stephen Kearney and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

"That has been a work in progress for a couple of years now," George said. 

"This is a clear example of our approach of making sure we have good people in the organisation, from players to administration.

"I couldn't be prouder of our playing group, led by Roger and Stephen (Kearney) has been a big part of this as well."

There are around 70 staff at the Warriors and George says he's trying to save as many jobs as possible and also keep the club going.

"We're going through a process with our staff and the objective for us is to protect the club long term," George said.

"In order for us to do that, we've got to work through a process where we can do the best we can for every staff member in the retention of jobs.

"To do that we've got to have some really challenging discussions and take some difficult positions in the short to mid term.

"I'm working through a process with staff that is confidential, but what the normal was, isn't the new normal going forward sadly.

"We've heard that other rugby league clubs are laying off staff left, right and centre. 

"But our owners and my objective is to retain everyone as best we can in some sort of capacity in the short to mid term, in order to have better protection for the club long term."