The big tease: Did JAC just reveal his future home?
Wests Tigers player of the year David Nofoaluma may have to consider putting himself onto the open market after receiving a contract offer from the club this week.
Nofoaluma has made it clear his first preference is to remain at the Tigers but the 26-year-old concedes he will now open himself up to speak with rival clubs.
"I obviously love the Wests Tigers and the fans, you can tell by my passion." Nofoaluma said. "But in reality, I am heading into what could potentially be my last contract.
"I am going to explore all my options and weigh up what's the best decision for myself and more importantly my future. I know with whatever decision I make, I can say I've given one hundred per cent every time I have stepped foot on the field for this club."
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Nofoaluma is coming off the best season of his career. Most pundits thought he was unlucky to miss out on the NSW Origin squad and he was easily the Tigers most consistent player scoring 17 tries in 20 games. Nofoaluma is officially a free agent with his current deal expiring at the end of next year. The Tigers tabled a three year deal to him this week
The Campbelltown product has been a rare shining light for the Tigers and is one of the club's favoured sons given the recent departures of Robbie Farah, Chris Lawrence and Benji Marshall.
"There is no rush but I have my manager (Sam Ayoub) taking care of everything." Nofoaluma said. "It would be extremely tough to leave but at the moment I have one more year remaining on my current contract and I will respect that. I'm back at training next week. I've really missed it and so I'm looking forward to ripping back into it with the boys and doing what I love.
"My contract situation will look after itself."
Barring injury Nofoaluma should become the greatest Wests Tigers tryscorer next year. He sits 10 short of Marshall and Lawrence having scored 74 tries from 139 matches.
The potential loss of Nofoaluma would be a cruel blow to the Tigers given the public fallout between the club and prop Josh Alolai who is still inching towards a move to Manly.
The Dragons have been financially compensated in finally agreeing to allow Jason Saab exit the club and take up a three-year deal with Manly.
Player swaps were discussed but they never progressed too far and in recent days a financial outcome was the obvious solution.
Development fees are at least $25,000 while the Roosters paid about $50,000 to South Sydney to secure Joseph Suaalii. So you could guess the figure rests somewhere in between that mark.
Meanwhile, Paul Vaughan has recommitted to the Dragons until at least 2022. Vaughan had an option in his favour for 2022 and activated that clause earlier this year.
SALARY CAP DRAMAS
The NRL's wage stalemate with its players is about to enter its second pay cycle as the parties struggle to find even-ground on a salary cap reduction.
The AFL reported a reduction in their players pay by just 3.5 per cent in 2021 but industry sources have labelled that number as misleading. The NRL were seeking a 10 per cent pay cut but has now dropped that to 7.5 per cent with the players sitting around 5 per cent.
The real picture for the AFL is a 9 per cent cut in 2021 - which could be spread and the AFL slashing between 25 and 50 per cent of pay this year compared to the NRL's 20 per cent.
The AFL's salary cap has dropped from around $14.5 million to $13.1m million.
The NRL have also maintained their 30-man squad sizes while the AFL have cut back lists by three players per club.
AFL clubs are able to scatter the cuts by up to five per cent in 2022 and 2023. The NRL contracting system starts each November meaning all players will be paid their full contact value this month as the uncertainty continues.
SMILES THE BEST MEDICINE
We received this great bit of correspondence highlighting the behaviour of Sea Eagles players at The Country Club St Georges Basin last month.
About 10 players were soon swarmed by fans as they went about their afternoon.
Club president Garry Buckley had nothing but praise for the players.
"It was no trouble for them to sign autographs and have their photo taken all afternoon," Buckley wrote. "The high point involved one of our elderly members, Wally. Wally is 86 and not in the best of health. He has been a Manly tragic for as long as he can remember. When he heard of the player's arrival he was driven from home with the hope of meeting them. He turned up in his Manly shorts, shirt and track top. Not only did the players embrace his presence, they arranged for a whole team photo with him as the centrepiece. I'm certain this episode did more for Wally's wellbeing than any medication he might be on.
"Prior to leaving several of the players led by Tom Trbojevic cleaned the tables and general area in which they were seated. It was an absolute pleasure to play host to such wonderful men."
MASSIVE HINT OR JUST BANTER?
Was this a hint to Josh Addo-Carr's future or just one of the game's great personalities having a bit of fun? Addo-Carr hammed it up for the camera of a fan recently declaring "I would be at the Dogs next year" along with his new famous "let's trot" catch line. Addo-Carr met with Bulldogs officials this week as he eyes a move to Belmore in 2022.
Mike Hussey saved Australia again on this day 10 years ago. The batsman steered Australia
to safety after another middle-order collapse left the first Ashes Test on a knife's edge at the Gabba. Hussey scored 81 not out as skipper Michael Clarke struggled with a back injury scoring nine off just 50. Marcus North was dismissed for one.
The NRL is considering pushing back the annual June 30 trade deadline by a month. It was moved to August 3 this year given the disjointed season and a delayed mid-season window could again happen next year.
CAVALRY HAS ARRIVED
The Knights have brought in some heavy artillery to their coaching staff by adding Canterbury premiership winner Andrew Ryan. Ryan will coach the reserve grade team and help with pathways in the full-time role. Mark O'Meley is also expected to be added to the Knights pathway structure.
Sione Mata'utia will head to England next year but the youngest Kangaroo gave serious consideration to quitting the code to become a professional golfer.
Mata'utia has signed with St Helens but flirted with the idea of switching sports.
"Golf was an option," Mata'utia said. "I spoke with a few people and my manager. It's pretty expensive to start in golf and you have to pay your own way. I could give it a crack later in my career."
Andrew McCullough has returned to Red Hill this week in further signs he will play on in 2021.
On loan to Newcastle for the 2020 season, McCullough was due to return back to Brisbane next year but his future became uncertain following a review of the club's salary cap.
Sport Confidential understands his Red Hill return posed a $600,000 headache for the club, which would struggle to accommodate his hefty salary.
However, the 30-year-old arrived back in Brisbane this week and made his first appearance at Broncos HQ on Thursday since being shown the door by former coach Anthony Seibold back in May.
He spent the morning greeting many of his former teammates and coaching staff, receiving a very warm welcome, while the playing squad endured their third day of pre-season.
Kevin Walters said he was "excited" to have the former Maroons hooker back in the squad, after his brief stint at Newcastle.
McCullough is due to start pre-season training with the Broncos next week.
Originally published as The big tease: Did JAC just reveal his future home?