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No more Uber Eats for Sipley as players adjust to new financial reality

Food deliveries were the among the first sacrifices Toafofoa Sipley made after NRL players accepted a 20 per cent pay cut due to the impact of COVID-19 on the game's finances.

While aware of the changes he's had to make, the Manly prop knows some of his fellow players across the league are doing things much tougher.

While the contract extension the Manly prop signed last year as he recovered from a knee injury is only a modest deal, the 25-year-old said the unexpected drop in income would be tougher for players with young families to support.

Sipley was able to sleep in and play PlayStation when not training on the rowing machine or stationary the Sea Eagles provided him during what he calls "my corona holiday".

All the time he was secure in the knowledge his partner, Nancy, was still working as an accountant.  

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However, he said some players were supporting partners and children, meaning a 20 per cent pay cut for the season would have a significant impact on household budgets.

"I feel for a lot of the boys who have families they have got to provide for and they are usually the sole income earner," Sipley said.

"It is pretty tough but I guess that is something they have just got to work out. In terms of the pay cut, I guess you have just got to roll with the punches and you have just got to do what you can do to make ends meet.

I feel for a lot of the boys who have families they have got to provide for

Manly prop Toafofoa Sipley

"This has been a good wake up call for a lot of boys, seeing that footy is gone and what are they going to do after footy. I think a lot of boys have picked up TAFE courses that they were offering online for free."

The Auckland-born forward said his partner had ensured their finances were under control while there was uncertainty about the NRL season resuming and how much players would be paid.

The NRL and RLPA last week agreed on a deal that guarantees players 80 per cent of their contract money for the 2020 season.

"My partner is an accountant, she is pretty good with her money so she always tells me to stop spending money on Uber Eats and stuff like that," Sipley said.

"She has managed to keep her job during this period so that has been a positive. I tossed up to her that she might have to be the breadwinner with us getting a pay cut."

Sipley said he had enjoyed the break from the rigours of the season but was looking forward to the Telstra Premiership resuming and had set his sights on a bench spot as part of a front-row rotation with Test props Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake.

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With no Canterbury Cup for players who fail to make the 17-man NRL squad each week, Sipley said there was even more motivation to impress coach Des Hasler at training.

"It was good to get away from footy and reset, set new goals and I got to enjoy time at home playing Play Station and sleeping in so I can't complain," Sipley said.

"I called it my corona holiday. I just tried to stay fit and I am looking forward to this season 2.0, I guess. I missed playing footy during that five-week break so I am just happy to be amongst the boys and throwing the ball around.

"I guess something that will drive us each day is just to keep pushing for that bench spot."