Cronulla are in danger of losing another key forward with workhorse Luke Douglas revealing yesterday he has a get-out clause in his contract for next year.
The rising Sharks front-rower is only signed until the end of 2011 with an option in his favour for 2012 and admits he could walk out on the rebuilding club in what would be a massive blow in the wake of the Kade Snowden saga.
Cronulla are already facing a battle to re-sign State of Origin prop Snowden, who is on the Knights’ radar, and it was believed Douglas was tied up for 2012 at least.
But the 24-year-old said he was free to leave: “I’m happy at the Sharks, but we’ll see,” Douglas said yesterday. “I’d love to stay, but if it’s not to be then it’s not to be. I don’t know if I should really be saying this, but I have an option for next year to stay if I want to so I’m pretty happy.
“But if something comes up my manager would have to weigh it up.”
Douglas, who debuted in 2006 aged 19, has earned a reputation as the Sharks’ man of steel with the Yamba-born prop stringing together a record 122 consecutive NRL games – the most of any forward.
Alongside Snowden and captain Paul Gallen, he was a shining light in an otherwise disappointing season in 2010.
The 192cm front-rower was rewarded for his form and promise with selection in Ricky Stuart’s 51-man Blues in Waiting squad in a sign he is regarded as a future rep star.
Douglas says his priority is to stay with the Sharks, who he believes are ready to return to finals football under new coach Shane Flanagan this year.
But he admits nothing is certain with close mate Snowden apparently the target of a $1m offer from his former club Newcastle.
“The option is just for 12 months, but the Sharks are trying to re-sign Snowy and all that and they’re pretty busy over there so I suppose we’ll just wait and see,” he said.
Douglas says the Sharks are desperate to prove wrong the knockers who have already written off the side as wooden-spoon contenders this season.