The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield has named the league’s 16 unwanted stars – featuring players on big contracts who are up for grabs.
As the November 1 deadline approaches and the COVID-19 pandemic continues, clubs and players move toward an unsteady and unpredictable upcoming few months.
While the season itself hasn’t included, with the Panthers, Storm, Raiders and Rabbitohs playing in the penultimate weekend of what has been a season like no other, the remaining 12 sides have shifted their focus to list management.
Brisbane have endured a catastrophic season in 2020, losing coach Anthony Seibold and falling from their throne to 16th in rapid fashion, with a number of off-field incidents checking-in along the way.
For Brisbane and incoming coach Kevin Walters, there remains a number of question marks for several players, with the future’s of Jack Bird, Matt Lodge, Brodie Croft and Joe Ofahengaue all seen as outcasts at Red Hill.
With Bird playing just 17 games across the last two years and priced at a reported $975,000 per season, the luckless centre looks to be a likely candidate to depart.
Walters has also made it clear that Lodge remains outside of his plans for the 2021 season.
Moving up two rungs on the ladder and you find the Cowboys dealing with enforcer Josh McGuire and his unsteady future in North Queensland.
Despite being contracted until 2022, McGuire is believed to be linked to a move to the Dragons, but an agreement is far from sorted.
Add Moses Mbye to the list of outcasts and holes begin to open up at Leichhardt.
Caught in a similar position is Cronulla, with Matt Moylan, Josh Dugan and Andrew Fifita all having unclear futures on the Shire, with rival clubs unsure to take on the risks that come with the heavy contracts.
Moylan has struggled to find minutes on the pitch due to injury, with a potential opening at Wests available if Reynolds is to depart.
St George Illawarra currently have major concerns within their halves crop, with Corey Norman sitting on $850,000-per-season while Ben Hunt has failed to impress in the Red V.
Collectively, with dozens of players either at unrest or not matching the required standards along with pandemic-related budget cuts, its set to be one of the most chaotic Novembers we’ve ever seen.
The NRL’s biggest unwanted stars (per The Daily Telegraph):
– Jack Bird (2021): $975,000
– Matt Lodge (2022): $650,000
– Brodie Croft (2021): $450,000
– Joe Ofahengaue (2022): $500,000
– Matt Moylan (2021) : $850,000
– Josh Dugan (2021) : $850,000
– Andrew Fifita (2022) : $850,000
– Josh Reynolds (2021): $850,000
– Russell Packer (2021): $750,000
– Moses Mbye (2022): $815,000
– Josh McGuire (2022): $650,000
– Jake Granville (2021) $400,000
– James Roberts (2021) $550,000
– Corey Norman (2021): $850,000
– Dean Whare (2022): $460,000
– Kyle Flanagan (2021): $280,000