The Gold Coast Titans insist Mark Minichiello will not be the next big-name player to be cut adrift after the back-rower sought assurances he is still wanted by the club.
But while Minichiello is on deck for next season, the Titans could lose livewire utility Shannon Walker, who is considering a shock code defection to play for the Australian rugby sevens team.
The rival code yesterday completed its first successful raid on the Titans.
Powerful utility back Joseph Tomane agreed to a two-year deal with Super Rugby province ACT Brumbies.
Speculation sweeping rugby league circles in recent weeks suggested Minichiello had been given permission to negotiate by the Titans.
The Gold Coast side will lose senior players Anthony Laffranchi (St Helens), Nathan Friend (Warriors) and Brad Meyers (retirement) at season’s end.
Minichiello, off-contract at the end of 2012, heard the whispers and recently broached the topic with Titans coach John Cartwright and football manager Scott Clark.
But the Titans are eager to retain Minichiello, who is managing his own affairs after severing ties with leading player agent Alan Gainey.
The future for Walker is less certain.
Rated one of the code’s most gifted talents, Walker has struggled to cement a regular first-grade berth at the Titans, playing only four NRL games since his debut as a 19-year-old in 2008.
Now 22, Walker is contemplating emulating former Bronco Denan Kemp by playing rugby for the Australian sevens team.