Pay cuts in Betfred Super League have been a big issue for players and clubs – and we could see the impact of that on the field when the competition restarts.
Some clubs have dealt with it significantly better than others, and that will have a knock-on effect down the line.
Certain clubs have kept players well informed and explained exactly why cuts need to be made, outlining their financial positions clearly and reaching agreements with their squads promptly.
Reports suggest that some others have done little more than fire off a few emails, and doing that or having a 15-minute meeting just won’t cut it.
You need good communication in any walk of life, but especially when you’re dealing with difficult circumstances like this.
The clubs that have a better relationship with their players and communicate more effectively will get a much better buy-in from their squads.
I can only talk from a Leeds point of view but I know their communication with players and staff – who have all had to take cuts as well – has been very good.
Players are human at the end of the day, and if they’re going back to playing with some grudges over the way their club has handled things in recent weeks, then it will have an impact.
I’m not saying that all players won’t be committed – you have to be committed once you walk onto a rugby league field or you will get injured or embarrassed.
But the clubs that have navigated these difficult times with their players better will get a greater buy-in on the field, and that is the kind of thing that takes you to the next level and allows you to win trophies.
That will be difficult if players have had a poor relationship with their club in recent weeks.
It seems through all of this that the players themselves are better organised and more together than in the past, and that was needed.
The problem in the past was that the vast majority of players weren’t bothered enough to put the effort in to gain a collective voice.
It’s a shame that it’s taken a pandemic and the very real threat of clubs going out of business to reach that point – but players now appear to understand the importance of standing together in times like these.
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