Coaches band together to create level playing field for Warriors
NRL coaches have agreed to stand down from training until the New Zealand Warriors are not only in Australia, but out of quarantine and free to do the same.
In the first big move of the newly-formed Rugby League Coaches Association (RLCA), The Daily Telegraph can reveal members including Wayne Bennett, Trent Robinson and Craig Bellamy have all agreed to only restart preparations for season 2020 when the Kiwis can.
The decision comes with both Warriors CEO Cameron George and coach Stephen Kearney growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of communication from NRL officialdom.
Relive classic NRL matches from the 60s to today on KAYO SPORTS. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
George revealed on Tuesday that his franchise, due to arrive Australia this Sunday, were still in the dark regarding a whole range of topics including accommodation and opportunities for family to travel.
However in one of their first major moves since forming in February, the RLCA have agreed to hold off on any return to training until the Warriors are also free to do the same.
Importantly, the coach's union has another meeting scheduled for this Friday, where a host of topics surrounding rugby league's proposed May 28 return will also be discussed.
The group is keen to become more heavily involved with the NRL Innovation Committee, of which both Robinson and Bennett are already members.
Quizzed on the show of solidarity around the Warriors, RLCA chief executive Kelly Egan said: "As a collective we've agreed the Warriors need to be well managed through all this.
"They're coming from a different country, working under an entirely different set of parameters, so we need to be fully considerate of them.
"The Warriors are part of the bigger picture and that is what we're about, making sure the big picture is supported."
Egan confirmed the group would not only meet again at the end of this week, but were keen to work with the NRL on helping shape the game's impending return.
"When this crisis began, we were only eight weeks old," the CEO said. "But there were already a lot of conversations and activities going on which the NRL, through no fault of its own, wasn't completely aware of.
"And now we're continuing on with that.
"We want to be part of the conversation surrounding what the game looks like moving forward.
"Despite essentially being only nine weeks old as an entity, we have a lot of intellect to offer.
"So the age (of the RLCA) doesn't matter. It's the influence and leadership that matters."
Egan added both Robinson and Bennett were already working as representatives of the RLCA in their respective roles with the Project Apollo working group.
"And we really appreciate having those two guys on that committee," he said. "Because they're now representing the voice of the collective coaching group.
"We're certainly invested in the game returning.
"And given our coaches are the closest people in the world to the respective playing groups, we're the best people to be leading the charge."
Originally published as Coaches band together to create level playing field for Warriors