2024 NRL: Players off Contract in ’24 – Who Will Be in Demand?

Everyone has an opinion on who will be the best players coming off contract in the NRL at the end of 2024. Here’s our take on which players would be at the top of rival clubs wish lists.

Related: 2025 NRL Squads and Player Movements

Ezra Mam (Brisbane Broncos)

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Ezra Mam improved out of sight in his second season at NRL level, to the point where he almost single-handedly won the grand final for the Broncos. The lively five-eighth will attract plenty of interest, including from cross-town rivals The Dolphins. He’s already declared he wants to stay at the Broncos, and it makes perfect sense for the club to retain him given Adam Reynolds’ career is winding down.

Our verdict: Brisbane retain.

Jordan Riki (Brisbane Broncos)

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Jordan Riki showed faith to re-sign with the Brisbane Broncos in early 2021, but this time the club will have a fight on their hands with trying to retain Ezra Mam, Adam Reynolds, Kurt Capewell, and Brendan Piakura around a tight salary cap. If they don’t have the cash, the Dolphins would be keen to poach the backrower.

Our verdict: Broncos retain.

Status: re-signed with the Broncos until 2027 (on November 24)

Nick Meaney (Melbourne Storm)

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The Melbourne Storm faces a difficult situation with Nick Meaney, Ryan Papenhuyzen, and Su’a Fa’alogo capable of playing the fullback role. We have to assume that Papenhuyzen is the preferred option at the back and that Meaney will be forced onto the wing or into the centres. Meaney has been quite solid at the back, and could make that role his own at a club like the Dragons, who might be looking for a little more experience at fullback. A lot will depend on whether the Storm offer him a short-term deal or something more stable.

Our verdict: possible move to another NRL club.

Bradman Best (Newcastle Knights)

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There was talk that Bradman Best and Daniel Saifiti would be shopped to other clubs to help with the Knights’ salary cap. Since that talk, Best has gone on to represent his state and surely the Knights will find the cap space to keep the centre long-term. Best has stated that he doesn’t want to leave the club. If he does leave, he’ll be hot property on the open market.

Our verdict: Newcastle retain.

Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)

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Reports suggest that reports twin brother Daniel Saifiti may take a reduced wage to allow his brother Jacob to stay at the club. With over 150 games and appearances at Origin for New South Wales and Test level for Fiji, Daniel would attract quite a bit of attention from rival clubs, with the Bulldogs and Sharks intently keen to bolster their respective packs.

Our verdict: Newcastle retain.

Status: re-signed with the Knights until 2027 (on November 28)

Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers)

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After four grand final appearances and three premierships the Panthers salary cap squeeze continues, with the club reported to have offered Jarome Luai a two-year deal, but under the $1 million he could demand on the open market. There has been – and will be – a lot of interest for Luai’s signature, but will loyalty and the opportunity to create more history with his halves partner Nathan Cleary be what keeps the local junior at the club? Penrith would like to get this headache out of the way before the 2024 season kicks off.

Our verdict: possible move to another NRL club.

Sunia Turuva (Penrith Panthers)

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It was some season for Sunia Turuva, who came into the Panthers side as a regular starter. After a sluggish start, he improved vastly through the season, ending up with 12 tries – seven were scored in his last eight games of the season. There’s talk that Taylan May will move into the centres and Turuva will own the wing in 2024. But it may come down to money left in the cap, something the Panthers will struggle with should he want more money in his next negotiations.

Our verdict: Panthers retain.

Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters)

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Joseph Manu is attracting interest from the St George Illawarra Dragons in an attempt to bring a quality, high-profile player to the club, amidst the speculation about Ben Hunt’s long-term future. The Kiwi international has shown the versatility to play at fullback, centre, or five-eighth over the past few seasons. He would have an immediate impact at the Red V should he decide to move on.

Our verdict: Roosters retain.

Terrell May (Sydney Roosters)

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The 24-year-old is the last of the May brothers to make their NRL debut, following in the footsteps of brothers Tyrone and Taylan. His work-rate off the bench has been significant, notably with 197 metres and 26 tackles against The Dolphins in Round 24 (39 minutes), followed by 173 metres and 32 tackles against the Rabbitohs in Round 27 (51 minutes). He almost signed with the Storm in 2022 and could spark interest as rival Sydney clubs – such as the Dragons – look to rebuild.

Our Verdict: Roosters retain.

Jackson Ford (New Zealand Warriors)

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Jackson Ford had a breakthrough season in 2023 after being unable to secure a regular NRL appearance at the Dragons. One of the most outstanding improvements has been in his running game, where he averaged 103 metres, compared to just the 49 metres he made mainly coming off the bench for St George Illawarra. With Josh Curran now transferred to the Bulldogs it looks like Ford will remain at the Warriors.

Our verdict: Warriors retain.

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