It is the chain reaction ready to turn rugby league in its head for 2012. There’s Todd Carney, Robert Lui, Tim Moltzen, even Matt Orford.
Carney is expected to join the Cronulla Sharks later this week while Lui will shortly be sacked by Wests Tigers and signed by the North Queensland Cowboys.
But the key signing will be Carney with sources close to the Sharks saying he has been offered an attractive two-year deal at Toyota Stadium. Carney’s second year earnings will double provided he can stay away from trouble.
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has been regularly speaking with Carney’s manager David Riolo and held a private discussion with Carney a month ago.
Flanagan will meet with Riolo on Wednesday about another player but is certain to discuss the Carney situation.
Cronulla did fear North Queensland was also chasing Carney but Cowboys football manager Peter Parr denies it. It leaves Cronulla as the only club wanting Carney, last year’s Dally M Medal winner. The process to sign Carney has been drawn out with the player and Riolo both having had recent overseas holidays.
Cronulla hope to announce Carney by the end of this week although Flanagan was preferring not to comment. However, the Sharks and Riolo will include some behavourial conditions in Carney’s contract.
Orford has become an X-factor in the halfback confusion, declaring himself ready to play after undergoing surgery on his groin: “I want to keep playing,” Orford said.
There were suggestions the Tigers may have spoken internally about Orford but his manager, George Mimis, denied this but did say: “Matt certainly hasn’t retired.”