Queensland Reds terminate contracts with Izack Rodda, Harry Hockings and Isaac Lucas

Queensland Reds trio Izack Rodda, Harry Hockings and Isaac Lucas have sensationally ended their stand-off with Rugby Australia (RA) by terminating their contracts.

The group had refused to take pay cuts of an average 60 per cent that their Australian Super Rugby counterparts accepted, prompting the Reds to stand them down ahead of Monday’s return to training.

On Friday the players’ agent Anthony Picone argued the Reds had no legal grounds to do so, in confirming the termination of their RA and Queensland Rugby Union contracts.

That claim comes despite RA, through director of rugby Scott Johnson, supporting QRU chief executive David Hanham’s decision earlier this week.

Rodda was reportedly at odds with Reds coach Brad Thorn and seeking a move to a rival Australian team, while Lucas and Hockings were both said to be assessing their options overseas.

According to The Courier-Mail, Rodda is expected to sign a new deal with the ACT Brumbies, despite also terminating his RA deal.

Johnson was keen to mediate and hoped a resolution could be reached to ensure the trio remained at the Reds, or at least in Australian rugby, given all three were part of the Wallabies’ future plans.

Those hopes appear to be fading fast though, with Picone in a statement labelling the QRU’s actions “repudiatory conduct” that forced his hand when the organisation failed to retreat this week.

Izack Rodda will land on his feet.Source:AAP

The statement said the players had arrived at their decisions because of the “enormous uncertainty surrounding the financial state of rugby, including the lack of a broadcast deal, and ability for contracts to be honoured into the future”.

“This is their livelihood. It is only reasonable that talented players want to secure stable employment during these times,” Picone said.

Rodda (23), who has 25 Test caps, and Lucas (21) were both contracted until 2023 while Hockings (21) was off contract but in talks for an extension. Picone has long ruffled feathers at the Reds, last year arranging a move to Japan for captain Samu Kerevi while also facilitating the exits of Will Genia and Liam Gill.

The NewStar Sports agent said he was disappointed this situation had played out publicly and called for RA’s new chairman Hamish McLennan and interim chief executive Rob Clarke to adopt a “more nuanced approach to player relationships and player movement”.

“It would be wise for the Reds and RA to maintain amicable relationships with these players,” he said.

“The future is uncertain, but we should always have as many players in the tent as possible.” The trio were the only players of the 192 Australian Super Rugby professionals to baulk at the salary hits that will be revised once a schedule and broadcast deal is finalised for the truncated competition due to begin in July. The QRU and RA were contacted for comment.

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Greenberg already receiving job offers

Days after he stepped down as the NRL’s chief executive, Todd Greenberg is already receiving several job offers.

Greenberg announced he had “mutually agreed” to part ways with the NRL on Monday after weeks of speculation and frustration. Amid the coronavirus lockdown, he was copping backlash for the NRL’s reckless spending and poor financial management.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Greenberg’s payout equated to more than $650,000, although that sum has not been confirmed by the NRL.

On Thursday, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle stepped down from her position, while Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts is also facing some criticism, even from within his own organisation.

As chief executives across the country start dropping like flies, Greenberg revealed he has already been presented with offers for new employment. He also disclosed he was willing to take on a role not in sports administration.

“I’ve had a couple of calls this week actually,” he told 2GB's The Continuous Call Team on Saturday.

“The best advice I got was don’t say yes to anything and don’t say no to anything in the first month or so … Just take your time, reset, have a good break, and then you can decide what you want to do next.

Todd Greenberg was appointed NRL chief executive in March 2016.Source:AAP

“I’ve got some unbelievable experiences out of the game, and I’ve met some unbelievably great people, and I’ve learnt a lot too.

“I don’t think I’ve always got it right. I don’t think every decision that you look back through the prism of hindsight tells you you got it right, but you learn a lot, and I’ve still got a long way to go to continue to learn.

“Both my kids are in Uni now, so there’s an opportunity to travel as well if those opportunities come up.

“I spent a fair chunk of my career in sports administration, and the key in sport is about stakeholders and trying to engage with various types of people.

“In a job like the NRL or even the Bulldogs, one minute you can be speaking to a diehard fan who just is so passionate about their team, and the next minute you could be talking to the Prime Minister.

“It has a variety of different challenges, but that’s also what makes working in sport so fundamentally good because it's such a challenge.”

On Tuesday, Roberts announced CA had already suffered a $20 million loss due to the coronavirus epidemic, and admitted that figure would climb into the “hundreds of millions” should India not tour next summer.

Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts.Source:Getty Images

CA also stood down most of its staff on an 80 per cent pay reduction for the remainder of the financial year. The Courier Mail reported CA’s staff were left fuming after the announcement, particularly considering Roberts reportedly said lay-offs would not be required last month.

“People felt totally blindsided. We hear all this stuff from the bosses about CA putting people first. It’s all rubbish,” a staff member said.

“And what is all this stuff about ‘We are all in it together’, when we take an 80 per cent pay cut and the executive take a 20 per cent cut?”

Despite the chaos, Greenberg downplayed suggestions Roberts would follow suit and vacate his position.

“I know Kevin pretty well, and he’s doing a pretty good job,” Greenberg said.

“One thing I have learnt over these last few years is there’s a very small number of us in these sorts of roles.

“Whether it’s in cricket or with Gill McLachlan in the AFL or in tennis and rugby, we all tend to keep in contact with each other because in any leadership role, it can be pretty isolating sometimes.

“Some of the challenges each of us have faced, some of us have faced before. They’re all challenging roles, and everyone’s got a view and an opinion, and they’re not ashamed to share it either.”

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