Refs take pay cut to ease burden on NRRRL clubs
A PAY cut taken by the referees will save Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League clubs around $12,000 this season.
NRRRL Referees Association president Josh Gollan confirmed they will take a 30 per cent pay cut for the shortened season which will kick-off in July.
He said the association were on the front foot and approached the NRRRL about the figure before both parties mutually agreed on a number.
Clubs are desperate to reduce costs with sponsors struggling and gate takings expected to be way down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We need to do our part to keep the game going," Gollan said.
"This will help soften the blow and take some pressure off the clubs.
"We had some early conversations about the season and basically led the process by going to the management group.
"The association were unanimous in taking a pay cut.
"It shows a lot of solidarity in the NRRRL; it was handled in an amicable way and we're all committed to getting the game going again."
The NRRRL Referees Association has about 70 members and they can earn anywhere between $50-$150 per game.
Gollan said they were looking forward to getting back on the field for a 10-round season which is scheduled to run from July 18 to October 18.
"A lot of our refs would do it for nothing," he said.
"We do it for the love of the game and want to ensure the competition will be viable moving forward.
"The last thing we want to see is clubs struggling financially and falling by the wayside."
Gollan said they still need more referees moving forward and recruitment and training had been tough during the COVID-19 restrictions.
They will need all hands on deck this year with all 13 clubs committing to the season.
The NRRRL will be split into two pools this season with each club hosting five home games.
Easing on crowd restrictions is a work in progress between New South Wales Rugby League and the NSW government.
The restart is also subject to approval from health authorities and a NSW Rugby League board review on June 1.