Counselling push for Storm NRL stars - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Counselling push for Storm NRL stars

By David Beniuk 28/04/2010 06:47:48 PM Comments (0)

NRL players' union boss David Garnsey says his No.1 concern is ensuring Melbourne's stars urgently receive counselling for the trauma of losing two premierships and being told to play for nothing.

Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) chief executive Garnsey met the Storm players on Wednesday, coming away with the belief they need help, before they can make any tough decisions about their futures.

As well as the lost 2007 and 2009 premierships and the stripping of points, Melbourne's players are confronting the fact their close playing group will be broken up next year so the club can shed around $1 million in salary costs.

"There's still some very raw emotions at play there as you'd expect," Garnsey told AAP.

"These footballers often are very brave about such things and probably somewhat ashamed to have to admit that they might need some counselling assistance or some help with their state of mind, but we tried to make that as non-threatening as possible and really reiterate the benefits of them getting to that.

"That's almost priority number one.

"Not only is it important for their health, but it's important so they can focus on football when they need to and their families at home also don't incur greater stress.

"Often unavoidably, you'll take your frustrations out on your family at home who obviously don't deserve it but are the nearest target so they can suffer as well."

Any appeal against the penalties imposed on the Storm last week has already been ruled out, leaving a legal challenge funded by the players as the last resort.

But Garnsey said, until the emotional issues were addressed, the players would be in no position to be making those kinds of decisions.

"They haven't made a decision one way or the other about any of that stuff," he said.

"It's very difficult for people in this frame of mind to consider closely and rationally, questions like that."

The NRL on Wednesday rejected suggestions a broad-ranging inquiry into its salary cap system is needed after several club CEOs spoke anonymously about their suspicions that breaches are more widespread.

Their comments came after disgraced former Storm boss Brian Waldron had said all clubs, except Canberra, were cheating the cap.

But the NRL has engaged international accounting firm Ernst and Young to be "on standby" in case any new cap investigations eventuate.

"At a time like this, there are invariably any number of rumours and we remind everyone we can only act where there is credible information," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.

"Certainly any club that was in possession of such information would be strongly encouraged to bring that forward.

"We do not believe that we are in a position to hold public inquiries and nor do we believe that would be a practical solution.

"We do not have the powers to take evidence on oath, we do not have judicial powers, but we do have strong processes and rules in place which include the involvement of a former Chief Justice of NSW in Sir Laurence Street.

"There are going to be breaches from time to time, history shows that, but the clear message remains that clubs run an incredible risk and they face an enormous price if they are found to have acted inappropriately."

Salary cap auditor Ian Schubert has returned to Sydney after two days in Melbourne, with the investigation expected to take some weeks to complete.

Schubert will be assisted in his task by News Ltd's auditors, the accounting firm Deloitte.

Meanwhile, News Ltd boss John Hartigan's description of player managers as "misfits" is likely to be discussed at a meeting of the Player Agents' Association on Thursday.

The regular meeting was scheduled before the Storm scandal, but it is understood some agents are furious at Hartigan's comments and could be considering defamation action.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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