Multiple clubs stand down entire staff in one of NRL’s darkest days

As for the Sharks’ recent purchase of Kareela Golf Club, Cronulla will renovate the club over the shutdown period for its eventual reopening.


Down in the Illawarra, all staff have been spared from cuts, with training suspended for two weeks.

“The protection of the Dragons’ football department and administration staff’s livelihoods, wellbeing, health and safety is one of the club’s highest priorities throughout this trying period,” Dragons chief executive Brian Johnston said.


Almost the entire Bulldogs staff – and their leagues club colleagues – have been told to take annual leave. When their annual leave dries up, unpaid leave will follow. That includes coach Dean Pay and the rest of the high-performance staff, who were one of the first coaching groups to be told to clean out their desks after news broke that the season would not continue.

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire.Credit:Getty

Wests Tigers

The Tigers are considered one of the safest clubs, with no staff stood down as yet. If there is a move to skeleton staff, coach Michael Maguire is set to stick around to monitor the at-home programs for players.


The Eels also faced a mass stand-down of staff on Wednesday. The club will continue to operate with a small amount of welfare staff and admin staff. All others, including coach Brad Arthur, have been asked to take leave. If they have none, then it will be leave without pay.


No staff cuts as yet, but players have been put on indefinite leave and asked to keep away from the public.

“We look forward to life returning to normal as quickly as possible, and rugby league returning to the field just as quickly,” chief executive Steve Mitchell said.


The Raiders will keep their football staff on until the end of April. A lot do not earn annual leave under contract, and therefore will be without pay. Chief executive Don Furner will address the media on Thursday morning to discuss whether there will also be cuts to admin staff.


The lights are out at the Panthers’ pristine facilities in Penrith. A small amount of staff returned to work on Wednesday but almost all are now on leave, as the club comes to terms with the huge financial hole both the absence of games and the shutdown of trade at its enormous leagues club will leave on the bottom line.


All football staff were told to take leave immediately, with administrative staff safe for the time being. Knights chief executive Phil Gardner met with all staff on Wednesday afternoon to provide clarity around the stand down.

Knights CEO Phil Gardner.

Knights CEO Phil Gardner. Credit:Marina Neil

“Every club will be undergoing a cost-cutting exercise over this period of time … the reality is everybody in the game will be taking a haircut,” Gardner said on Tuesday. “None of it has been easy, the majority of people are in shock.”


No staff have been stood down as yet. Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy said he offered to take a pay cut to his board, with the players told to take a month off.

“Storm will get through this,” Donaghy said. “It’s going to be testing, this is bigger than us.”



Players are training from home, with the club currently being run on skeleton staff. All football staff have been stood down with two weeks pay.

“Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent suspension of the 2020 NRL season, we have been forced to temporarily suspend much of our operations until at least Monday 1st June,” a statement to fans read.


The Cowboys joined the Panthers, Knights, Sharks and Bulldogs in telling staff to take leave on Wednesday. That includes coach Paul Green and his staff.

“It was excruciatingly difficult to let our people know, through no fault of their own and in spite of the incredible talent they share with our club on a daily basis, that their positions were stood down,” chairman Jeff Reibel said.


The Roosters will hold a board meeting on Friday. One of the options on the table is a 70 per cent pay reduction across the board to ensure that as many people as possible have jobs.

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