NRL Rd 10 - Sea Eagles v Broncos
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 05: Haumole Olakau'atu of the Sea Eagles is tackled during the round 10 NRL match between Manly Sea Eagles and Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on May 05, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The Wests Tigers have reportedly held internal discussions about making a play for Manly Sea Eagles star second-rower Haumole Olakau'atu.

The second-rower is on contract at the Sea Eagles until at least the end of the 2025 season on a deal worth a reported $650,000.

While Olakau'atu moving from Manly would likely come with a significant upgrade of dollar value, it's unlikely the Sea Eagles would be able to hand out such an upgrade, given they have a number of players on big-money deals.

A large portion of their salary cap is soaked up by the likes of Tom and Jake Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Schuster, who is believed to be on around $800,000 per year after his contract extension earlier this year.

That could leave Olakau'atu looking for a way out, and there is little to no doubt that contracts are barely worth the paper they are written on in the modern game.

Fox Sports are reporting that the Tigers will come to the party for Olakau'atu if there is a chance of securing his services, although the move may make little sense on the surface.

The joint-venture already have Isaiah Papali'i and John Bateman to play on the edge, although could use Papali'i as a middle forward. His form has lacked since arriving at the Tigers, particularly compared to what he had been producing at Parramatta.

It comes as the Tigers also reportedly have secured the signatures of Aidan Sezer and Jayden Sullivan to feature in a new-look halves pairing next year.

Despite the rumours regarding their strike edge forward, Sea Eagles boss Tony Mestrov has suggested his club have no issues with the salary cap and in fact, want to upgrade Olakau'atu at the end of the season.

“We are under the cap for next year,” Mestrov said per News Corp.

“We're managing the cap very well. We're in a really good place from our point of view. There are some clubs struggling with roster management but we're not one of them.

“There are a lot of rumours but people don't know the facts.”

Mestrov also said no players have been told that they need to leave the club, despite the fact Manly have few roster spots open for next year.

The News Corp report indicates that the club will look to re-sign Ethan Bullemor and Brad Parker in the coming weeks as they move towards a full squad, having already added Luke Brooks, Tommy Talau and Jaxson Paulo from rival clubs in recent times.

The Sea Eagles have handed out new contracts to Gordon Chan Kum Tong (2024), Lachlan Croker (2024), Reuben Garrick (2027), Tolutau Koula (2027), Taniela Paseka (2026), Josh Schuster (2027), Toafofoa Sipley (2025), Ben Trbojevic (2024) and Christian Tuipulotu (2025), but still have a long list of players coming off-contract for 2024.

Bullemor and Parker headling that list, but the likes of Morgan Boyle, Morgan Garper, Jamie Hymphreys, Matt Lodge, Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega, Kaeo Weekes and Aaron Woods are all yet to officially have their futures confirmed, although it's believed Lodge will be offered a new deal despite his recent ACL rupture.