Roosters boss Nick Politis acknowledges his club will struggle to keep the crux of their grand final winning team with rival clubs circling.
Centres Joey Manu and Latrell Mitchell along with the likes of Siosiua Taukeiaho, Brett Morris, Nat Butcher and Mitchell Aubusson are all off-contract in 2020.
The other 15 NRL clubs are able to officially lodge offers for 2021 as of November 1.
It’s being reported Manu is most likely to stay, which will be a big boost for the Tricolours.
Cooper Cronk’s retirement and the likely exit of Zane Tetevano will free up much-needed salary cap space, along with Aubusson retiring when his one-year deal concludes after the 2020 season.
Politis admits he faces a battle to keep all of his players after next season.
“We obviously want to keep a winning team together, who wouldn’t?” Politis told NRL.com.
“But it is really hard with the salary cap.
“Every year we lose a couple. Next year Cooper goes and in our salary cap a few guys will be bumped up and deservedly so.
“For next year we’re all but locked up but the year after we do have six or seven guys coming off-contract (in 2020).
“We don’t want to lose anybody, but players will get big offers, and sometimes we’re not able to match it.”
Co-captain Jake Friend isn’t going anywhere according to Politis even after rookie Sam Verrills’ solid finish to the year in the No.9 jersey.
“He’s getting married next year, he’s got business opportunities around the area, ask anyone, Jake’s the heart and soul of this club.”
However, Mitchell’s next contract has been heavily reported on in the media this past season though it seems he will re-sign with the Roosters in the coming months.
The increase in salaries for some players will mean others will be squeezed out.
“It’s happened regularly, we’ve got players at plenty of clubs, they’ve gone elsewhere, they’re doing well and earning more money, so good luck to them,” Politis said.
“There’s a whole team of Roosters players who have gone on and are doing well.”
“Players only have a limited lifespan in football, you can’t begrudge someone earning what they can while they can.”