AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 30: Joseph Manu of the Roosters during warmup prior to the round nine NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Sydney Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium on April 30, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Joseph Manu could well be heading into his final pre-season as a Sydney Roosters.

That seems to be the consensus across the rumour mill as clubs like the New Zealand Warriors gear up to make what could potentially be a seven-figure bid for the off-contract New Zealander.

The star has made a name for himself in the centres during his time with the tri-colours, but also can play at fullback or in the halves, and was a key part of the Roosters' run through 2021 before having his season abruptly ended by a Latrell Mitchell high tackle.

While the Roosters have nursed Manu back to health since that horrendous hit, contract time has arrived, and Manu, like every other off-contract player in the competition at the end of 2022, is allowed to negotiate with rival clubs from Monday, November 1.

JOSEPH MANU
Centre
Roosters
2021 SEASON AVG
0.3
Try Assists
0.3
LB Assists
0.4
Tries

While the Warriors have expressed publically how interested they are in Manu, there will be no shortage of clubs lining up to speak with Manu.

That doesn't mean the Roosters have given up yet though, and they would love to keep the superstar, who turned himself into one of the game's best centres over the past two seasons, emerging from the shadow cast by Latrell Mitchell when he was at Bondi-based club.

The Sydney Morning Herald have reported that Manu has told The Roosters he wants to play either fullback or five-eighth.

While it's unclear if that demand needs to be met immediately, it's not something the tri-colours are going to be able to fulfil in the interim.

James Tedesco is one of the game's best fullbacks and club captain, while Luke Keary was an Origin-calibre half before he went down with a season-ending injury early in the 2021 campaign, before being replaced by a mix of Drew Hutchison, Lachlan Lam and Sam Walker who all played superbly.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 06: James Tedesco of the Roosters celebrates scoring a try during the 2019 NRL Grand Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Tedesco is only 28, while Keary is 29. It means the chance of Manu being able to play either of the positions he wants to move into in Trent Robinson's side will be limited, one would think for at the very least another three seasons.

The Roosters have, however, signed Paul Momirovski, and alongside a host of talented outside backs in the system including Joseph Sualii and Billy Smith, it's unclear what their best 13 may look like for 2022.

Whether Keary could potentially shift to halfback, allowing Manu to slot in at five-eighth still remains to be seen, although leaving all of Sam Walker, Drew Hutchison and Lachlan Lam out of the side seems a long shot after the fantastic 2021 campaigns they put together in the face of enormous adversity at the club.

The fact the tri-colours finished fifth despite having the longest injury list in recent seasons from any club is a testament to just how well those players, alongside the likes of Tedesco and Jared Waerea-Hargreages - played.

Given the demand placed on the Roosters, and the fact they won't be able to match the money a club like the Warriors - who are rumoured to be preparing a seven-figure deal for Manu - will throw at the star, it almost seems certain that he will exit the Roosters at the end of 2022.