Test star Usman Khawaja has called for the NRL to show “clarity and openness” with football players threatening to strike over a pay war jeopardising the start of the new season.
Khawaja is an Australian Cricketers Association board member who has previously butted heads with Cricket Australia during collective bargaining agreement discussions.
Rugby league players are threatening strike action if the NRL fails to negotiate with them in finalising a new CBA.
Khawaja discussed the matter on Wednesday with Brisbane Broncos skipper Adam Reynolds, with the advice being for the footballers to stand their ground,
“Looking at reports and what the players are saying, they’re not really asking for too much,” Khawaja said.
“They’re not asking for more, they’re just asking for what they think is fair, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“We stood by a revenue share model, and Cricket Australia were trying to change it. We didn’t ask for any more, we didn’t ask for anything different, we just asked for the revenue share model at the time and I think that ended up working best for everyone.
“We’re all partners in the game. That’s what worked really well for cricket, and as a player, always stand by your players and your mates.
“As much as we love this game. there’s no game without the players.”
Khawaja said regardless of the sport, players just wanted transparency from their respective sport’s governing bodies.
“With all associations … you just want clarity and openness,” he said.
“If you ask to see the books, you just want them to be open and honest, and just show you that books to know what’s going on so you can actually be make a fair assessment.
“Sometimes that gets lost. With cricket it has in the past. I know for a fact just talking to a few of the players in the NRL, sometimes that sort of clarity gets lost. You don’t get to see everything that’s going on.
“Once you can get that and everyone can come to a reasonable decision … that’s a big part of it.
“I’m sure this will work out, it has to, The footy season’s coming in March and if it doesn’t (work out), then we don’t have footy.”
Khawaja’s Brisbane Heat side is aiming for a third successive BBL win on Friday night at the Gabba against the Hobart Hurricanes.
“We’ve won two games in a row, if we went three, four, I think we give ourselves a pretty good chance of making the (finals). If we can get five (on the trot), I think we’ve definitely made it,” he said.
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