The New Zealand Warriors say they would consider the merits of Braith Anasta as the Rooster’s time at Bondi Junction looks fragile beyond this season.
The 29-year-old star’s future has been the centre of debate since it emerged last weekend that the Sydney Roosters weren’t offering their captain a contract extension with salary cap problems complicating his situation.
While the bulk of the NRL clubs have ruled out any interest in the former Origin and Kangaroos playmaker, the Warriors are among four clubs – the Cronulla Sharks, Penrith Panthers and North Queensland Cowboys are the others – who are open-minded on Anasta.
The Warriors have budding stars Isaac John and Shaun Johnson contracted until the end of 2012, while halfback Brett Seymour is off-contract. The club has an option to extend the deal of five-eighth James Maloney beyond this year.
There were suggestions today that Anasta, who earns about $450,000 a season at the Roosters, has since been reassured by club officials that an offer will be forthcoming. The date of April 30 has been set as a deadline for delivery of a new contract, although with Roosters grand final players such as Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Anthony Minichiello and Martin Kennedy also off-contract, the likelihood is he would have to take a pay cut to stay.
Anasta is not without options elsewhere, but his manager Greg Willett has indicated that a move to the English Super League is out of the question due to business interests in Sydney.
Roosters coach Brian Smith last night played down the Anasta contract drama and reiterated the club’s desire to keep their leader.
”Braith knows exactly what the situation is and that hasn’t changed,” Smith said. ”Everything is clear to everyone here as to what the situation is. We’re all hopeful Braith will want to stay.”