Round 13 looms which means clubs will soon be able to poach all the talent they want for 2017 and beyond. There are some big names on the market for next season and still huge question marks over their future. Here are the 10 biggest fish at the market:
The word is that Blake Green is on the way out, and it seems unlikely that Storm would shaft both of their halves at the same time. According to Zero-Tackle, he currently sits on $625,000 per season. Fox Sports says that Storm have tabled a two-year, $1.7 million offer. Earlier in the year there were reports that suggested he could ask for around a million. Is anybody willing to offer that much for a guy who is nearing the end of his career? If Storm did retain him it would mean that, from the $7.1 million for the top 25 players, Storm would be paying $3.8 million between four players (Slater, Cronk, Smith, Munster) in their 2017 salary cap.
He is a second rower who has solidified his spot in the Queensland and Australia team. He would be premium meat for any club. The Broncos want to keep him but would require him to settle for less money than he is worth to remain at the successful club. The Titans and the Sharks have both expressed interest in him to bolster their packs.
He is currently the rope in a game of tug-of-war between the Cowboys and the Panthers. After resisting the Raider’s attempts last season, he is currently trying to decide between the successful Cowboys who he won a premiership with, or the Panthers who would allow him to take his family back to Sydney. It is unlikely that any other clubs will have a chance of getting his contract.
He has remained on the Storm’s bench most of the year but this big rig is seen by many as a star of the future. New Zealand rugby has expressed strong interest but NAS has said that he wants to stay at the Storm. That will depend on how they can manage their salary cap following Cronk’s decision.
If I was trying to recruit for a club, Lowe is one of the first players I would target. He was part of the Cowboys premiership winning teams and a future representative player. He runs hard, tackles hard and has great ball playing skills. He is also highly underrated and would come a lot cheaper than many of the other second rowers in the game.
This may be an unfamiliar name for many. He has only played a handful of NRL games in his career and has been playing for the Wyong Roos for the last year. He is unlucky to not play first grade. He was named the fullback of the year in the NSW last year and is regularly named in the ISP team of the week. If it wasn’t for him transferring to Japanese Rugby he might have become a regular NRL player a long time ago. It is likely that he would play better than a few of the current NRL fullbacks and could slot at clubs like the Knights or the Titans for a low price.
The Panther’s big bopper on the wing has just been called up for his State of Origin debut which is sure to increase his asking price. The panthers are unlikely to want him to leave and most likely see him as a huge part of the clubs future. Wingers might not get huge contracts these days but he would be looking at the higher end.
Has an asking price up there with Cooper Cronk, but depending on what happens in his current capsule debarkle, he might not have an asking price at all for a little while. He was one of the form halves in the competition until the Eels problems escalated and would be a great addition to any team.
He is the Broncos super-sub that has plenty of potential, but it seems that he is getting impatient being stuck behind a young and in-form spine. For any clubs wanting to invest in the future, Nikorima would be a strong option. He has gotten interest from the Storm which could prime him to be Cooper Cronk’s replacement. Being coached by Bellamy and mentored by Cronk, Slater and Smith would be a great prospect for any player, but it depends whether Storm have enough cap space and how much Bennett wants to keep him.
Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks
These two have been paired together for the last couple of years as a joint package but they could easily be split up if either player decides to leave the Tigers. Their decision should be made very soon. At the start of the season it seemed that at least one would certainly leave but after their cold form streak they might have a better chance of staying together at the Tigers. For them; however, it would probably benefit them greatly to be split up and partnered with experienced halves partners to help them reach their potential. At the beginning of the season their asking price was around $600,000.