WITH the NRL staring down the barrel of financial ruin, St George Illawarra veteran James Graham believes players would be willing to take a pay-cut if it was in the game's best interests.
The game remains in the grip of an unprecedented crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, with this week's round two matches to go ahead at empty stadiums.
Senior figures such as Wayne Bennett and Cameron Smith have called for the season to be suspended, while the competition may be forced to go on without the Warriors who remain in camp at Kingscliff.
The playing squad faces a 14-day quarantine should they return to New Zealand, with the club giving no guarantee it will remain in Australia beyond their clash with Canberra on Saturday.
Without gate takings, the game will rely solely on broadcast revenue to remain afloat but face a devastating financial blow should games need to cease in the face of the virus.
Should that occur players could be asked to take a pay cut to keep the game afloat, with Greenberg highlighting the 'material adverse change provision' that's part of the game's CBA with the players' association.
"If the revenues of the game drop it allows us to go back and have a discussion with the players about the collective bargaining agreement," Greenberg said at Monday's press briefing.
The comments will no doubt meet with a mixed reaction among NRL players but Graham said they need to act in the best interests of the game.
"We might not have a choice. You don't have to be very good at maths to realise something would have to change," Graham said.
"They talk about pay with players... it's all members of society. I'm not expecting any ounce of sympathy for rugby league players not getting paid or having to take a cut. Go ask the man on the street if they give a toss about that. I imagine they'd say no.
"Are you going to get paid all your money and have the game go bust or we have to almost burn it to the ground and start again? I can't imagine any player having that sort of attitude.
"If it were the case and you have to take pay cuts, what are you going to do, say no? Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. It's not just rugby league players, all members of society are staring this in the face."
Graham said any such move would likely come in consultation with the RLPA, with the 34-year-old certain players would take a unified approach.
"I imagine if there is a restructure in payment the RLPA would take over that," he said.
"It affects everyone differently. If your one of the top earners and lose 50 per cent of your wage it's not the same as someone at the bottom end of the pile losing 50 per cent of their wage.
"It's important to stress that we're talking in hypotheticals. Nothing's been discussed as of yet but, if we were to get there, I'm confident the players would want to look after each other."
Opinions differ on how, or if, games should continue but Graham said he's comfortable to take the advice of the governing body.
"If we can keep playing and people judge it not to be putting people at risk then you've got to be pleased with that," Graham said.
"I don't envy the people who have got to make these decisions. Hindsight's a wonderful thing, the people who make these decisions will be criticised one way or the other.
"The people who make the calls, it's crunch time for them. It's why they get paid a lot of money to administer the game and I'm going to back them to take all of this into consideration and come up with the right answers."
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we aim to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.