The news continues to break in the rugby league world. We were all still coming to grips with the Valentine Holmes move when David Klemmer shifted to the Knights with Dylan Napa replacing him at the Dogs.
Today, it is our neighbours to the east who are providing the headlines.
Superstar Shaun Johnson has reportedly asked for a release from the remaining year of his contract following news that the Warriors have given him permission to look around for 2020 onward.
In a social media post, Johnson vented that there was “nothing for him to sign” at his current club and is reportedly looking to move on in 2019.
News reports have immediately stated that up to four sides are already discussing the Warriors ace for 2019 or 2020.
Before the next massive news story breaks, we take a look at six clubs who could possibly be those ‘four’ reportedly linked to Johnson.
This comes with no inside information and is purely based on common sense. Let us know below where you expect to see Johnson in 2020 and perhaps even prior.
If Johnson is looking to move immediately, the Sharks become the obvious choice. Given Holmes has just left the club, they are likely the only side with $800,000+ available in their 2019 salary cap.
Given Johnson is reportedly on a million dollars a season, the Sharks look the ONLY option for Johnson should he be successful in securing an early release.
The Sharks would shift Matt Moylan back to fullback with Johnson partnering either Chad Townsend or young Kyle Flanagan in the halves. Unless the Sharks opt to move Josh Dugan and proceed with a Moylan/Johnson halves partnership.
Either way, in terms of moving today, the Sharks have a roster spot and a huge chunk of cash available to lure the Warriors marquee man.
If Johnson is unable to secure a release, the Sharks are right in the running for 2020 also. Again, it would come down to what they do with their fullback role, but I can’t see the Sharks turning down an opportunity to sign Johnson.
The only other club in the running in terms of a 2019 switch for mine. The Eels were supposedly shopping around both Corey Norman and Mitch Moses earlier in the season, with the Warriors linked to both.
Given the Eels were unable to fit Jarryd Hayne under their 2019 cap, there’s no chance the Eels could accommodate Johnson without giving something up.
Moses looks the most likely to make the move if it happens, as he was linked with the Warriors quite heavily a little while back.
The Warriors may be willing to let Johnson move on if they were able to sign a replacement. If this is the only way the Warriors move Johnson on, the Eels become huge favourites for his signature.
They’re a shout in 2020 also with their current halves supposedly off-contract. Watch this space.
The Raiders were the first team linked to Johnson when news broke that he may be moving on prior to the 2020 season.
They really need a player with Johnson’s talents to push for a top eight birth.
I can’t see a way they fit Johnson in under their 2019 cap unless they allow Aiden Sezer to move to New Zealand, and even then I’m not sure how the sums add up.
2020 looks the only real option if Johnson wants to play in lime green.
Truthfully I can’t see a fourth side in the running, but the Dogs are the only real option I can find. With Kieran Foran linked to the Sea Eagles it’s possible, I guess, that the Dogs could move Foran on with an eye to signing Johnson.
Surely Napa has come in on a lesser monetary contract than what outgoing David Klemmer was on. There would be slight room to move. Add in the money Foran’s move would free up and they’re in the running.
That said, I named the Dogs purely to match the fourth club mentioned. I can’t see Manly being able to take Foran on, at even half price given their cap issues. This seems like a long shot for 2019, although anything can happen in a year if the Warriors stand their ground and Johnson looks to sign for 2020.
North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys SURELY can’t make the move for Johnson in 2019 given they’ve just signed Kangaroos lock Josh McGuire. That said, if it comes down to 2020, they’re the favourites for mine.
They had a reported $1.2 million set aside to offer Holmes, and with a starting halfback spot up for grabs, if Johnson plays out his contract in Auckland, the Cowboys will be right in the hunt for 2020.
The Premiers seemingly have better cap management than any other club but surely not even they can work Johnson in for 2019.
When Cooper Cronk retires though the halfback spot, and a million dollars a season suddenly become available.
One plus one = blue, red and white. Just saying.