Cronulla captain Wade Graham slams reports of NRL pay dispute


But Graham claimed the players’ concern was not money, saying they were worried about a number of issues including whether all teams would resume training at the same time.

Cronulla captain Wade Graham says money was a secondary issue in players’ negotiations with the NRL.Credit:AAP

He said players were worried that government restrictions may hinder interstate teams or the New Zealand-based Warriors.

The Queensland government has since opened the states borders for NRL teams and the Warriors have been cleared to enter Australia, but it remains unclear whether Melbourne will have to move to NSW for the resumption of the campaign.

“The narrative was that it was all about the pay, which is completely incorrect,” Graham told The Sunday Footy Show.

“I think the biggest dispute was around the May 4 training.

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“If some of those dominoes didn’t fall over and things were held up by the government, how does that look?

“The last thing we wanted, especially the Sydney teams, was for us all to commit to training when other teams may not be on the same page as us.

“We didn’t want those guys to feel like they were under pressure in holding the game up.”

V’landys agreed that pay was not high on the players’ agenda but did say there were disagreements when he spoke with the high-profile players on Friday.

“There is always going to be disputes in a family and I regard rugby league as a family,” he told Nine Network’s Sports Sunday.

“We settled those disputes on Friday. There wasn’t much discussion on the pay rate, they were very satisfied with what we put forward.

“They are human beings, they have got mortgages, they have expenses, they have stresses – they needed security on that and we provided it.”

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Graham said V’landys had the players’ full support.

“The one that annoyed me the most (in media pay dispute reports) was that the players were trying to undermine Peter V’landys,” he said.

“Pete has done a wonderful job … and (players) are right behind him.”

Graham hoped to be back training soon after Monday’s biosecurity briefing for NRL players.

“We (Sharks) are going to have a test run on what it looks like and go through it all, probably Tuesday have a full day off then back to work on Wednesday,” he said.

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