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NRL 2023: Gorden Tallis slams players amid CBA dispute, NRL executive recording meeting, give back money, latest news

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League legend Gorden Tallis has slammed “pretentious” players amid anger over allegations an NRL executive attempted to record a private pay dispute meeting without permission.

The senior executive, who now reportedly faces the sack for the act, is alleged to have used a mobile phone to try and record a Leaders in League meeting that was aimed at ending rugby league’s pay war and Collective Bargaining Agreement stand-off.

But speaking on the Footy Talk Rugby League podcast, Tallis warned players were only “pi**ing off” fans with their ongoing pay dispute.

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When asked if he thought the private recording issue was a “storm in a teacup”, Queensland legend Tallis teed off.

“Don’t jump in the car, don’t walk any streets of Sydney – I think we’re getting recorded everywhere,” he said.

“Listen, you would only be worried getting recorded if you’re saying something wrong.

“I get recorded for six hours every week – it doesn’t bother me. I couldn’t give a rats.

“If you’re going into negotiating and someone records it, it’s a negotiation! Who cares?”

Tallis slammed players who were using their social media as a way to “air the dirty laundry” as the pay war escalates with strike action even thought a possibility.

And he called on those concerned players to take their own pay cuts to help those on lower salaries.

“All negotiations should be behind closed doors – it doesn’t help anybody (airing the dirty laundry),” he said.

“They’re allowed to get and flood their social media. Players are allowed to record what they want, the NRL must feel that they are cornered a little bit and what they’re putting out there in public and what they are saying privately in a meeting is different.

“The players don’t survive without the fans, and at the moment they’re pissing the public off.

“They go out there and dig holes all day for $30 and $40 an hour. They see these guys as pretentious little you know, all on this million dollars a year… (co-host Ben Dobbin interrupts with: ‘what about the blokes who aren’t on that?’) OK OK OK, now we’ve got to the point – give back 200 hundred grand. No no, you give back 200 hundred grand to the guy who comes in here and pushes the buttons if you’re that worried.

“It’s happened at some clubs, where we’ve all taken a pay cut and it does happen.

“If you really like a guy, you go, take 20 (thousand) off mine. Right? We’ve done that if you’re that worried.

“You’ve gone and negotiated their price. They’ve all got the money that they want. They are well paid.

“Stop playing it out in the paper!

“Get your business done behind closed doors.”

Players have accused the NRL of failing to listen to players, and called for a “seat at the table” on decisions that impact their work conditions.

The RLPA also wants an increase in minimum wage, higher match fees and better private health care in retirement, while a CBA for the women’s game is also sought.

While figures show the average NRL salary is around $370,000 per year, half of the players earn less than $175,000 a season once the big money players are withdrawn from calculations.

“Any player that when they air their contracts – how does that end with them?” Tallis questioned.

“When everybody knows what they are getting? It doesn’t work well for them. I’ve been in that boat – ‘overpaid, you’re this and that’.

“The game doesn’t survive without our fans.”

Fox League commentator Corey Parker has previously backed the players’ plight, saying they just want a “fair hearing”.

“The players aren’t being greedy, first and foremost,” Parker said.

“I don’t think it’s to do with getting more money, they just want different terms and conditions.”

Originally published as ‘Give back 200 grand’: League great Gorden Tallis tees off on ‘pretentious’ players amid recording dispute

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