The Brisbane Broncos are confident salary cap pressures will not force Ben Te’o out of Red Hill as the club ups the ante in the battle to retain the hard-hitting utility.
While another off-contract star, Gerard Beale, has put talks on hold, The Courier-Mail can reveal the Broncos have begun negotiations to keep Te’o at the club for 2013 and beyond.
There are fears Te’o could be squeezed out, with the Broncos having outlaid $5 million in the past year to re-sign 10 top-liners, including Justin Hodges, Peter Wallace, Corey Norman, Andrew McCullough, Alex Glenn, Jharal Yow Yeh, Parker and skipper Sam Thaiday.
Te’o has attracted interest from Sydney NRL rivals and rugby union, meaning the Broncos may be forced to pay in excess of $300,000 a season to secure the 25-year-old former Samoan international.
Broncos operations chief Andrew Gee has held preliminary talks with Te’o’s manager Isaac Moses and said early indications were promising.
“Ben has indicated he wants to stay so if he keeps playing good football hopefully he will be here (next season),” Gee said.
“At the moment, we’re just being patient because there is uncertainty in the marketplace.
“Ben is very happy here. He’s great for the club on and off the field, he is happy in Brisbane so I’m hopeful we can work something out.”