Despite a falling out during State of Origin last year, Timana Tahu called upon Andrew Johns’ help.
Johns called his mates at the Knights and pleaded Tahu’s case. This is a chance to pick up a quality State of Origin player cheap, is along the lines of what he said. But the Knights had their concerns.
Johns also called Knights coach Rick Stone. For one reason or another, Newcastle closed the door on the offer.
It is understood the Wests Tigers, Sydney Roosters and Cronulla Sharks were on Tahu’s radar.
Yesterday, Roosters coach Brian Smith said his club was not interested, as previously rumoured.
“No interest, our books are full,” Smith said.
Tigers boss Stephen Humphreys also gave Tahu the thumbs down.
“No disrespect to Timana, we’re done for 2011,” Humphreys said.
But Sharks coach Shane Flanagan remains open.
“If he ends up cutting ties with Parramatta, I will consider it,” Flanagan said. “But Timana would have to prove to us he is doing it for the right reasons.”
It’s understood the Sharks have $200,000 available in their salary cap but Flanagan said his priority was to sign a forward, not a back.
“We’d consider it if it was a good option for us,” Flanagan said. “It has to be for the right reasons.”
The NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert could prove the final stumbling block, though.
It’s unlikely any club will be prepared to sign Tahu on big money given all that happened last year.
But because Tahu played Origin last year, the issue now will be getting a green light from Schubert.
The way it works in the NRL is that representative players are usually registered on at least $150,000 contracts. If a club attempts to sign them for less, questions are asked.
On top of that, if a club signs Tahu for anything longer than a one-year deal on a contract propped up by match payments, all money over $3000 a game will go on their cap for the following season.
It basically means Tahu has a problem – and he needs the NRL’s understanding to resolve it.
And it appears Tahu is fast running out of favours.
Gallop said yesterday: “Any payout Parramatta provides has to go in the Parramatta cap. Any new contract will need to be assessed in terms of his value as a State of Origin and Australian player.”
But Gallop conceded that Tahu’s case might present exceptional circumstances.