The Wests Tigers are set for a spending spree this off-season with the league approving the medical retirement of New Zealand international Ben Matulino and the immediate release of Ryan Matterson, as reported by Fox Sports.
The Tigers will have $1.7 million free in cap space for next season, with coach Michael Maguire set to take advantage of his sides new war chest to improve the Tigers roster for 2020.
The timing of Matulino and Matterson’s exit falls perfectly for Maguire, as the window for 2021 off contract players opens Friday November 1st.
The ongoing friction between Matterson and the Tigers ends with both parties agreeing to cut ties after failing to secure a trade.
Parramatta have been vocal in their chase for Matterson, reportedly offering a 3-year, $1.6 million offer within the last 24 hours as the Eels remain hopeful of securing the 25-year-old.
Matulino, who originally had signed with former coach Ivan Cleary, still has one-year remaining on his Wests contract worth close to $800,000 per season.
Matulino’s departure follows the NRL’s approval for his medical retirement after a month long case.
“On behalf of all at the club, I’d like to firstly congratulate Ben on what has been a superb career in the NRL,” Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said.
“He has been a wonderful player for over a decade and has continued to give his all for his sport, teammates and respective clubs.
“Ben is a terrific family man and it has been a real pleasure to have him be part of this club.
“We all understand his decision to retire as a result of his injury, and we wish him, his wife Courtenay and his young family all the very best in the future.”
The granted retirement means the Tigers will receive an extra $800,000 into their salary cap for next year.
Adding to the departures of Matterson and centre Esan Masters – who was released to the Cowboys – the Tigers will be major role players come as they boast a threatening salary space.
Maguire has kept close tabs on Titans duo Jai Arrow and AJ Brimson and has also shown interest in Dragons player Luciano Leilua.