Former NSW and Australian front-rower Jason Ryles is expected to become the latest bargain signing for the Melbourne Storm after the Sydney Roosters cut up his contract 12 months early.
Since being floored by the salary cap scandal, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy and football manager Frank Ponissi have made turning unwanted players from rival NRL clubs into an art form.
Last season they did it with Bryan Norrie, Maurice Blair, Beau Champion and Adam Woolnough. Now Ryles is in line to become the next Storm success story.
The Sunday Telegraph has been told Ryles was initially fuming about being pushed out the door at Bondi Junction by coach Brian Smith.
But the silver lining is the opportunity to play under Bellamy, who has a proven track record when it comes to reinventing experienced players or turning an average player into a star. With Bellamy and Ponissi currently on a US study trip, the Ryles deal is expected to take at least another week to be finalised.
If Melbourne Storm do sign the front-rower, it will be another coup for the club after the salary cap scandal.
To force the former Australian forward out the door with 12 months still to run on his contract, the Roosters would have had to pay a severance fee of at least $100,000.
This means Melbourne Storm can effectively pick him up for around the same price – and the Bondi Junction outfit is still paying half of Ryles’ wages.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s a great deal for the Melbourne Storm.