The Sydney Roosters have abruptly told prop Jason Ryles he won’t be playing for them next season – with the Melbourne Storm and his former club the St George Illawarra Dragons touted as his possible destinations in 2012.
Having featured in the club’s fairytale run to the grand final last year, the veteran front-rower has been informed by coach Brian Smith he is no longer required despite having one more season remaining on his present deal.
The Daily Telegraph understands the decision to move him on followed a post-season review and his future has been in limbo for the past month.
oosters chief executive Steve Noyce last night confirmed Ryles would be leaving, but was cagey when asked to provide reasons why.
“Jason and the club have reached an agreement that he won’t be with us next season,” Noyce said. “A decision has been made, and it has been made by mutual agreement.”
Pressed on why that had suddenly happened, Noyce said: “For whatever reason, he’s been given permission to talk to other clubs. I’m sure he will find a suitable club to go to.”
Roosters sources said last night Ryles was choking up too much of the salary cap, having signed with them last year from French side Catalans.
The club wants to invest in younger forward leaders like Queensland Origin hopeful Martin Kennedy, Mose Masoe and New Zealand international Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, and needs to free up cap money by moving Ryles on.
For his part, Ryles is said to be unhappy about being told he wasn’t part of the club’s plans so late into the year with the salary cap at rival clubs already full.
Last night, he was being linked to the Dragons – his former club of nine seasons until 2008 – although the Storm have emerged as favourites to secure him.
Ryles met with Storm officials in Melbourne last week, although Craig Bellamy and his coaching staff are presently on a study trip of the US, so negotiations won’t continue until next week.
“If he becomes available we will look at him but we’re not doing anything until Craig and I get back late next week,” Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said via text.
Ryles could not be contacted last night, nor could his manager George Mimis.