Greenberg fears for NRL's biggest clubs
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NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg believes NRL teams propped up by their respective leagues clubs will be the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.
That list includes some of the code's most storied franchises, led by Parramatta and Canterbury, as well as Penrith and Wests Tigers.
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The Eels, Bulldogs and Panthers have been forced into ordering staff to take leave in an attempt to stay afloat during the global pandemic.
There were initial fears that privately-owned clubs such as Manly and Gold Coast could suffer the most from the enforced suspension of the season. But Greenberg had a different take on Fox League Mornings on Thursday.
"I actually think the clubs with the licensed clubs attached to them, despite them being some of our biggest clubs, they're the most vulnerable," Greenberg said.
"(Manly and Gold Coast) have access to private ownership, and so ultimately if it gets really dire, private ownership has the ability to help in its own way.
"But some of those licensed clubs, the big ones I'm talking about, who've been big parts of rugby league since its inception through to the NSWRL, they're all in all sorts of financial stress now because they're physically not open and can't trade."
Eels coach Brad Arthur and Bulldogs mentor Dean Pay on Wednesday joined Panthers counterpart Ivan Cleary in being instructed to take annual leave.
However they were just three of hundreds of combined staff across each club, and associating leagues establishments, to be sent home.
Some have even been forced into lining up for government handouts. The Panthers alone own five licensed clubs and are bracing for a reported $40 million loss brought on by the shutdown of each of their premises. It is believed 400 staff at Canterbury Leagues Club have also been stood down.
"They've had to lay off, on top of their football clubs stuff, hundreds and hundreds of staff that work in their leagues clubs," Greenberg said.
"I have great concerns about how quickly we can get that back open. "And none of us know the answer because ultimately we're in the hands of the government and a much broader global crisis we're about to face in our country."
Despite the dire circumstances, Greenberg said the governing body remain determined to ensure all 16 clubs will survive the death knell.
Talks with the players union continue over the prospect of pay cuts, and are expected to be resolved on Friday.
"Our goal is to make sure all 16 come out the other end so it's not going to be easy and there's a lot of hard decisions being made," Greenberg said.
Originally published as Greenberg says some of the NRL's biggest clubs are 'the most vulnerable'