John Bateman picked up the tools in Canberra on Tuesday as several players start to go to work amid the NRL season shutdown.
In a bid to stay active, the England back-rower was seen helping a mate do some manual labour in the heart of Australia’s capital.
Although Bateman’s input was limited due to his current shoulder injury, he told the Canberra Times that the work was purely a favour in these testing times.
“Not officially on the tools, but I’ve come to do a little bit of work today for one of my mates, just helping him out,” he said.
“He’s just stripping some roofs and he’s throwing some rubbish down. I just clean up. It’s not much. I can’t do much. I’ve got my shoulder injury.”
First ever day grafting,I’m done with it!! Give me rugby back please 😫🤦🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/McMgOlTyRQ
— John Bateman (@johnbateman1) March 31, 2020
It turns out that Bateman is not the only Raiders player staying busy through the break, with close pal and international teammate Elliott Whitehead posting a number of farm-related posts on his Instagram story.
“I think Elliott’s on a farm somewhere in Canberra. I’m not too sure what’s going down. I just keep seeing videos of cows,” Bateman said.
It comes on the same day that the Rugby League Players Association agreed to an interim 75 per cent pay cut.
NRL players are expected to agree to a basic deal on payment, which will guarantee them two months of wages over seven months.
There is a huge amount of controversy surrounding the deal, with the NRL accused of not putting $21 million into two pots, one for retiring players and another for clubs under financial stress.
With the game now under strain, it appears those funds are missing and players are set to demand that forensic accountants examine the NRL’s books.