They claim to have done nothing wrong but the St George Illawarra Dragons face being trumped by rivals Wests Tigers in the battle for utility star Tim Moltzen.
The Daily Telegraph understands the NRL has just one official contract registered for Moltzen in 2012 – and it belongs to Wests Tigers.
That leaves a second contract Moltzen signed with Saints virtually worthless. It cannot be registered.
Moltzen, 23, was given permission to negotiate with Saints mid-season when the Tigers were experiencing salary cap difficulty. He duly signed a three-year deal with the Dragons but the Tigers are now claiming Moltzen was never formally released. The Dragons may have to accept the fact Moltzen will remain at Concord – but they will be far from happy.
One well-placed legal source said: “If St George Illawarra can’t register him, then he can’t play for them under NRL rules. This is a problem for Saints.
“I’m sure the Dragons signed him in good faith but Wests Tigers certainly have the upper hand.”
Asked why the Tigers didn’t object at the time of Moltzen’s move, Humphreys said: “I did. No one asked us for a release. We just sat on it.”
The Tigers though are still anticipating a fight for Moltzen with St George Illawarra.
The NRL is refusing to intervene, hoping the matter can be resolved by the two clubs.
Moltzen has told friends he wants out of the Dragons deal.