The Blues this week, the Rabbitohs before that. Next week Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be linked to Toulon rugby. Welcome to the world of an off-contract star player.
I half expect the Warriors skipper to be linked with every NRL club, NZR and overseas rugby clubs this year. He's a star and would be in both codes and he is off-contract. That is going to be like bees to the honeypot this year as clubs make their pitch for him.
Get used to the stories but take them with a grain of salt.
Take my word for it – no deal has been done with the Blues. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has not told teammates he's off to the Blues. I spoke to his manager Bruce Sharrock this morning, who claimed there isn't even a speck of truth to the story. I believe him. But let's assume he's a player manager and accept that they say what needs to be said even if it isn't quite the truth. Even considering that I believe Sharrock is right.
It makes no sense for Tuivasa-Sheck to sign with a Super Rugby franchise when he can't earn more than $200K a season with them. If he were to swap codes, the first deal would be with NZR and a central contract where the majority of salary comes from. Then, and only then, would he work out where to play his Super Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup etc.
People will argue this is a clear tactic of a manager trying to push up the asking price by creating demand but I don't think that is the case when dealing with a player of Tuivasa-Sheck's standing. The asking price is always top dollar anyway. Maybe it is to get leverage, to force a club to pull the trigger but I'd bet my last dollar the Warriors were already keen to put pen to paper.
My understanding is that Tuivasa-Sheck really hasn't made his mind up about what he wants to do with his career and will spend time figuring that out this year. Why sign so early in the piece when you know every NRL club will be knocking at the door? The further into the year the more he can assess where the Warriors are at, where other clubs are at and the more interest clubs will have in him.
This is the by-product of the Warriors not being able to get him signed to an extension before November 1. The same goes with their longest-serving player Simon Mannering and hooker Issac Luke, who are in the same position.
There will be stories around those three key players all season, linking them to various locations.
The Warriors are major players to retain all three and will no doubt be given time to make their best offer both in terms of a financial package and in the way of putting together a competitive team.
Tuivasa-Sheck may ultimately decide rugby is the best option for him but if that were to be the case, I'd expect the deal to be done much later in the piece.
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