Australian media are talking up the chances of Sonny Bill Williams returning to the NRL next year after his former club Sydney City Roosters stepped up offloading players to free up its salary cap.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph is speculating that the money saved by parting ways with State of Origin and Australian centre Michael Jennings will allow the Roosters to sign either Williams or Jarryd Hayne for the 2016 season.
Of those two headline acts, they say Williams would be the most likely to end up at Bondi.
"If Sonny decides to come back to rugby league, we'd love to be his club of choice," Roosters boss Brian Canavan said.
Roosters supporters would have felt short-changed when Jennings was released to Parramatta and 24-year-old Dale Copley brought in as his centre replacement.
Jennings won a title with the Bondi club and has forever been a standout in the NSW and Kangaroos' jumper, while Copley, just three years Jennings' junior, struggled to hold down a regular starting berth at the Broncos.
But Canavan said the money freed up by Jennings this season - as well as the lucrative deal he would have justifiably demanded in future years - would allow the club to focus on re-signing several youngsters.
The Roosters are trying to retain Boyd Cordner, Jackson Hastings and Mitch Aubusson beyond 2016.
Cordner continues to flourish in the backrow and looms as a future leader of the club, Hastings will get his chance to shine in the halves with Mitchell Pearce, while Aubusson is a two-time clubman of the year.
"There are five or six players off contract at the end of the year. Boyd Cordner is an elite performer, Jackson is only 20, and Mitch Aubusson can play anywhere and one of the best clubmen around," Canavan said.
- staff reporter and news.com.a