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Cowboys coach stood down as club reacts to crisis

COWBOYS coach Paul Green has been stood down on two weeks' pay with more than 60 North Queensland staff facing uncertain futures as the coronavirus pandemic rips the heart out of the NRL.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Green and head-of-football Peter Parr have been given a fortnight's paid leave with the majority of the Cowboys football and administrative staff stood down while the NRL season is in limbo.

Some Cowboys staff have begun making immediate inquiries with Centrelink after receiving documentation at their stand-down meeting outlining the possibility of government financial aid amid the COVID-19 crisis.

At this stage, Cowboys management have not spoken about job cuts or salary downgrades, instead offering staff members, including Green and Parr, the option to take annual leave with two weeks' pay.

But, like many in Australian society, Cowboys staff will face some crippling times in the coming weeks and months, especially if the NRL premiership cannot resume until September 1, which is D-Day for the 2020 season.

 

Cowboys coach Paul Green has been stood down with two weeks paid leave. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Cowboys coach Paul Green has been stood down with two weeks paid leave. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

Cowboys chief executive Jeff Reibel said it was a gut-wrenching day for the club and comes just 24 hours after Bulldogs coach Dean Pay and Canterbury staff were stood down immediately without pay.

"It was with a heavy heart that we talked with our people today about the decisions which were necessary to ensure the club's survival of this unprecedented disruption to our 2020 season," he said.

"It was excruciatingly difficult to let our people know through no fault of their own and in spite of the incredible talent they share with our club on a daily basis, that their positions were stood down."

The Cowboys were one of the few NRL clubs to record a profit last season and remain hopeful they can ride out the COVID-19 storm to be part of the 2021 premiership.

New chairman Lewis Ramsay, who officially replaced Laurence Lancini just a fortnight ago, said he hoped to see Cowboys staff back at work soon.

 

New Cowboys chairman Lewis Ramsay. Picture: Alix Sweeney
New Cowboys chairman Lewis Ramsay. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

"Our people have worked so diligently and selflessly for many months to prepare for our 2020 season and on behalf of the Board I would like to express how grateful the club is for the personal and professional contributions and sacrifices they have made," he said.

"While the length of the season's suspension is unknown, the club's determination to return people to their roles as soon as possible remains steadfast."

Green assured Cowboys fans he would do everything possible to ensure the squad returns in peak shape if the NRL premiership resumes later this year.

"While it's disappointing we cannot currently carry on with our season, we understand there are greater concerns for the community and the safety of our staff and players is paramount," he said.

"Whilst we will take this opportunity to freshen up, our team will continue to train and keep themselves in good shape.

"Rest assured that when the season recommences, we will be fit and raring to go."

Originally published as Cowboys coach stood down as club reacts to crisis



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