Players deserve a voice in the running of the game – Luke Gale

ONE THING I have learned from the last few weeks is that players need a voice in the game.
Luke Gale on the run against Toronto Wolfpack. 
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.Luke Gale on the run against Toronto Wolfpack. 
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Luke Gale on the run against Toronto Wolfpack. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The plans Super League clubs have drawn up for restarting the competition are really interesting, but the first I knew about them was when a reporter rang me asking what I thought.

That was on Thursday. I played a (socially distanced) round of golf with Oliver Holmes that afternoon and he said the Castleford boys had got wind of something about starting again in August, but we only knew the details when we looked on the internet.

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That’s not right, in my opinion. As players, we are the ones at the sharp end, out on the field, so why would we not be told what’s going on?

Wakefield's Bill Tupou is held by Castleford's Oliver Holmes, Paul McShane and Michael Shenton.
 Picture: Bruce Rollinson.Wakefield's Bill Tupou is held by Castleford's Oliver Holmes, Paul McShane and Michael Shenton.
 Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Wakefield's Bill Tupou is held by Castleford's Oliver Holmes, Paul McShane and Michael Shenton. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

I can understand if the plans were supposed to be secret and somebody has leaked them to the media, but even so, it would be nice if we were asked for our thoughts and kept in touch with what is going on.

Once the plans were out there in the public domain it would have been good to get a text or email from the competition just saying ‘this is what we are proposing’.

We are the game and it is crazy we are not consulted more. We have not had a say in how many games there’ll be, whether we’re going to be playing midweek matches or when the season is going to start and finish.

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Our union, the GMB, have been working tirelessly on behalf of the players to ensure we have a voice, but the message doesn’t seem to be getting through to those in charge.

Australian superstar Greg Inglis is joining Warrington next season. Picture: AP Photo/Tim Hales.Australian superstar Greg Inglis is joining Warrington next season. Picture: AP Photo/Tim Hales.
Australian superstar Greg Inglis is joining Warrington next season. Picture: AP Photo/Tim Hales.

Players have never really had a say and I think the coronavirus situation has shown we have no real power or influence. I am not slagging anyone off and Leeds, Kev Sinfield especially, have been great at keeping us updated, but the whole game needs to do the same. We are all in this together and there should be more consultation. I am 32 now and I have got a few more years left in the sport, but I’d like to think the current generation of players could leave the game in a better state than when we started and make things better for the ones who follow us. There’d be no game without us and I’d like to think in future years we will have more say in how things are run and what decisions are made.

As for the three options, I can understand where the clubs are coming from. They are talking about starting in mid-August and hoping to have crowds from October 1.

That makes sense because the later we start, the more chance there is of getting fans back into the stadiums, which is what all clubs want. As players, we just want to get back on the field, whether that’s once or twice a week.

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The sooner the better, but we understand as well that the later it goes on the more chance there is of public gatherings being held.

Clubs need matchday income, that’s their biggest source of revenue and it will be costly for them if they have to play games behind closed doors. We want to play rugby, that’s what we are paid for and it’s what we love doing. Once we get told what is happening, we’ll just go out and get on with it.

It has been quite an interesting week on the news front. Apart from the restart plans, the big news is Greg Inglis will be playing in Super League next year. I didn’t see that one coming and it is massively exciting. He is one of the greatest to have ever played the game and I am glad he doesn’t play on my edge because he would be a handful to tackle.

It is a massive coup for Warrington and hopefully when he comes over, he is fit and he can show the competition what he is all about. It is super-exciting to have a player of that calibre in our game and fair play to Warrington, they always seem to be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

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Next year they are going to have Gaz Widdop, Blake Austin and Greg Inglis in their team – as well as people like Daz Clark.

A huge well done to Warrington for getting him and I am all for it. If they can get a signing like that, why not? Hopefully it works out – and now we’ve just got to figure out a way of defending against him.

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