Freddie backs players' stance

By Daniel Pace 07/09/2003 07:24:50 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters captain Brad Fittler feels sorry for Craig Gower but believes the players were right in their threat to boycott the Dally M awards.

Penrith skipper Gower held a one point lead over Fittler and Canberra's Clinton Schifcofske heading into today's final round of the National Rugby League's regular season.

The Sunday Telegraph said Gower was "robbed" of the chance to win his first Dally M Player of the Year award after the NRL cancelled the News Limited-run ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday night.

The NRL and the Rugby League Players' Association are in heated negotiations over the establishment of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the players had threatened to boycott the awards as part of the fight for their cause.

Gower won the Channel Nine man-of-the-match award from his side's victory over Parramatta that clinched the minor premiership for the Panthers and would have certainly joined illustrious company as a Dally M Medal winner.

But Fittler said there were more important issues at stake than an awards ceremony.

"A lot of people were critical of what we did but I'm just really glad all players are 100 per cent behind the players' association," said Fittler, who is nursing an injured shoulder.

Fittler said the players' action over CBA was something which should have happened a long time ago.

"The ex-players (are) bitching about it - (but) if they got off their arses 10 years ago we wouldn't have had a Super League war and we wouldn't have had a lot of dramas that we've had."

Gower said he was a "little disappointed" at missing out on the Dally M award but supported the players' stance on issues such as minimum wage and intellectual property rights.

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