Yeo breaks players’ silence on secret NRL ABC meeting recording, refuses to rule out strike

Penrith Panthers captain Isaah Yeo has described the breakdown in trust between the players and the NRL in recent weeks following explosive news yesterday which saw the league accused of secretly taping meetings.

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA), for which Yeo is the delegate for the Panthers, is engaged in discussions with the NRL over the league’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Relations between the two sides hit a new low this week when an investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a meeting, held last Friday between NRL CEO Andrew Abdo and representatives of the gambling group was taped by an official without the knowledge of Abdo or the players.

The culprit was discovered, prompting RLPA CEO Clint Newton to confront Abdo and RLPA chief Deirdre Anderson to send a letter to NRL President Peter V’Landys blaming the culprit. to have secretly recorded the session.

“We heard about it and it’s another breach of trust, really,” said Yeo, who is the first player to publicly comment on the matter.

“It’s out now and the tension is already there. The RLPA, over the past few years, had to audit to get the money the players are also entitled to and they found another $20 million. So this isn’t the first time this has happened.

“There have been small breaches of trust that create tension between the groups. I think the RLPA sent something to Peter (V’Landys), they’ll sort it out.

Players could be ready to step up industrial action against the NRL, with a new CBA submitted to the league. If not accepted, Yeo refused to rule out the possibility of strike action.

“The RLPA board came back and presented a CBA to the NRL and gave them a deadline until the end of Thursday, so we are waiting to see what happens from that and we go from there.

“It takes time with a bit of tit for tat back and forth. The RLPA is doing its best for the players and we are all behind this. We gave them a chance until Thursday, then if we need to do more as a group, we will.

“It’s taking too long and we’ll see how it goes next Thursday, and if we need to take more action, we will. . If things continue to deteriorate the way they are and we don’t get any resolutions, that (strikes) is the absolute extreme. The players don’t want to get there, we all want to play football. I’m sure it will be sorted out before then.

Yeo insisted that the dispute was not about the player’s salary, but rather the terms.

“It looks like some parts of the media are pushing the NRL case and saying we’re greedy, but that’s just not the case,” he said.

“We try to take care of each other not only through football but also after football. There are a lot of things that come into play and I feel like people who come out and say things don’t don’t completely have a head on this.

“Clint tries to do a job of presenting what the players are looking for: it’s not just about the money, it’s about looking after each other away from football once everything is done. If you’re lucky it’s a ten year career in rugby league and then it’s over.

“You’d like to think it doesn’t end there and you’re cared for a bit longer with injuries and stuff like that. It’s seen in different ways, but we’re not greedy, we try to take care of them. each other.

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