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All 16 clubs have reaffirmed their support for the NRL's decision to continuing playing matches behind closed doors during the global coronavirus pandemic.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg held a conference call with representatives of all the clubs and the Rugby League Players' Association on Wednesday afternoon and received unanimous approval to continue staging matches.

Round two will kick off on Thursday night with the Bulldogs hosting the Cowboys at an empty ANZ Stadium before the other seven scheduled matches proceed over the following three days without anyone in the stands.

The AFL has decided to go ahead with its season, confirming on Wednesday night after a meeting of the AFL's commissioners that Thursday's clash between Richmond and Carlton will proceed as scheduled. 

The RLPA has also contacted its players to bring them up to speed on the impact of the pandemic on them and their careers.

RLPA general manager Clint Newton has conceded there may be no other option than for players to have their salaries reduced in the coming months but stressed it was a last-resort scenario.

The RLPA has released a video to their members, offering support and answering questions of potential issues that could arise from the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the collective bargaining agreement signed off in 2017, the NRL has the power to work with the RLPA and reduce salaries if revenue requirements were not met.

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A spokesman for the RLPA confirmed to that current NRL players, via their club delegates, had expressed concerns around their futures in recent days with the video offering clarity around where they stand. 

Newton, in the video message to the players, stressed that they would explore all other avenues before considering any agreement to cut salaries.

"Right now, given the NRL competition is continuing, we are not considering any reduction in player payments," Newton said in the video message to members.

"However, if the competition were to be paused or suspended for any period of time, we may be forced to consider that.

"Any reduction in player payments and benefits need to be agreed with us. Player salaries would be the last thing we look to reduce.

"There are other areas we may look to draw upon, such as injury hardship fund, marketing pool, retirement account and representative payments to help offset any downturn in the revenue.

"We can also look at reducing future payments such as the salary cap in ensuing years. We don’t have to necessarily take all the money out in one year or we may look to defer player benefits down the line."

Clubs and states are bracing for a massive financial loss if the NRL continues to operate at crowd less venues.

ARL chairman Peter V'landys conceded earlier in the week the game would struggle to survive if the Telstra Premiership was suspended for the entire season.

"If the reduction in the revenues are significant, the players will need to share in that," Newton said.

"But it's important to remember that it's only our portion of that percentage – clubs, states and NRL will also share in any losses.

"Any reduction in player payments will be spread across all players - it won’t be absorbed by any one team or any one group of players. It’s important that we stick together on this.

"It’s important to know, after all that, that we are not there at this point. These are simply all considerations we will work through if or when the game may be suspended or paused."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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