Wakefield winger Lee Kershaw has been delivering parcels to make ends meet during lockdown – as a contract rule threatens to force him out of rugby league altogether.
The 21-year-old’s current deal at Trinity sees him earning less than the minimum wage per hour and he has turned down a marginal pay rise at the club. Rugby league rules mean that Wakefield can still demand a fee for Kershaw should he join a rival club, a stance that they have made publicly clear.
The situation has left the player considering his future in the sport amid interest from rugby union. In the meantime he has continued to deliver parcels around his local area after accepting the club’s pay cut terms during lockdown.
Kershaw said: “I still live at home but I couldn’t ask my parents for money after years of looking after me. A mate of mine was working for Hermes and I got a job through him to try and earn a bit extra. At first it was stressful but it’s been good and I think I’ll carry on doing it.
“Even before we were furloughed I was working in a bar once a week to earn a little bit extra because mates my age were out doing things that I couldn’t. I love playing rugby and would do it forever if I could but I don’t have a lot to show for it so far.
“I thought I was doing well at Wakefield and I got told that at the end of year review, although I know I’ve got things to work on.
“I understand that it’s a business but I thought if Wakefield felt I’m a good player and was progressing well then they’d offer me a decent contract. If they didn’t think I was then they’d let me go.
“Instead I got a contract offer that was nowhere near me thinking about saying yes, but I’m trapped because they can demand a fee for me.”
Kershaw – who has played six times in Super League as well as on loan at League One Oldham – is now considering offers from the 15-man code.
He added: “I’m only young and if that’s a path I’ve got to go down then maybe I’ll have to do it. It’s not pleasant but if the rule doesn’t change what can I do about it?”
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