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Penrith have told their staff and players to take at least a month's leave, including head coach Ivan Cleary, in a bid to help the club's financial situation after the NRL's decision to suspend the competition indefinitely.

The Panthers are one of several Sydney-based NRL clubs which relies heavily on leagues club profits to fund football operations but they face a huge downturn in the coming months.

The organisation's five leagues clubs, located in Penrith, North Richmond, Glenbrook, Port Macquarie and Bathurst, were closed for at least the next six months on Sunday night due to the coronavirus pandemic under government orders.

Everyone at the western Sydney club including Cleary and CEO Brian Fletcher has been ordered to take annual or unpaid leave over April and May.

Former Panthers general manager Phil Gould voiced his support for his comrades in clubland on Twitter.

Across the game clubs have been taking cost-cutting measures, with recently retired stars Sam Burgess and Paul Gallen among those let go at South Sydney and Cronulla respectively.

Bulldogs club great, one-time board member and football manager Steve Price was among up to 30 staff stood down by Canterbury, while the NRL is also operating on a skeleton staff with its Moore Park and Eveleigh offices closed until May 1.

NRL suspends season in wake of COVID-19 outbreak

Burgess said on Fox League that "we get two weeks pay and that’s it and we are out of pay".

"So it is pretty real at the moment. Two weeks left of pay and then we are unemployed I guess until we come out of this. Hopefully we come out of this strong enough into roles that we were already in.

"But it is up in the air at the minute and it is hard to predict."

Meanwhile, Newcastle and Wests Group CEO Philip Gardner has reassured his staff their jobs remained a priority - he is scheduled to address players and club staff on Wednesday.

Wests Group operates leagues clubs in New Lambton, Mayfield, Cardiff, the City and Nelson Bay.

The NRL on Tuesday told club CEOs that the best-case scenario for the competition restarting would be June at the earliest.

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