The Wests Tigers could ultimately end up losing two players in the halves unless they can make assurances to youngster Jock Madden.
The half has come into the side for the suspended Jackson Hastings over the last couple of weeks, and has just one week left before Hastings returns.
Adding to that, Adam Doueihi will be back from an ACL injury mid-season, with it likely to push Hastings to lock and Madden even further down the pecking order.
Madden is off-contract at the end of the season though and while he has opened up on his desire to stay at the Tigers, The Daily Telegraph are reporting that he will begin testing his value on the open market from Friday and will not re-sign with the Tigers unless he can get assurances that he will turn into the club's long-term halfback.
Madden, who was promoted from a development contract before he was originally supposed to be, has impressed at junior level and in the NSW Cup, being one of the Tigers' more impressive players in the last fortnight in a well-beaten side.
Madden told the publication he wants to play at seven, and he wants to play in the NRL, which puts him on a direct collision course with Brooks.
“I want to play at seven, I think seven is my best position but I can play both [positions in the halves]. In the long run I want to play at No.7,” Madden said.
“I definitely would [like to stay at the Tigers]. I came down here in 2019, I have been down here for four years.
“The club is definitely going in the right direction and I want to be a part of that success.
“I want to play first grade now, I want to be playing NRL footy week in, week out,” Madden said.
“That’s my league now, and that is where I want to be."
With Hastings reportedly tipped to move to lock when Doueihi returns, besieged coach Michael Maguire could start the experiment early this week by retaining Madden in the halves alongside Brooks.
In an ideal world, Maguire may even be able to trial Madden and Hastings in the halves, however, the support the club have thrown behind Brooks, who reportedly requested a release over the summer and is still linked to rival clubs almost daily, means Maguire's hands are almost tied in sticking by the halfback, who has played more than 170 NRL games without a finals appearance.
The Tigers sit at the bottom of the NRL ladder without a win in their four games, with a difficult three-week stretch ahead against the Cronulla Sharks, Parramatta Eels and South Sydney Rabbitohs.