NRL contract news: Storm UP THE ANTE in bid to retain rep star Cameron Munster. Dragons re-sign Jack Bird, Rooster eyeing off code swap in time for Rugby World Cup
- The Storm initially only offered Munster a two-year deal on $750,000 a season
- They have tabled an increased offer over three years to ward off NRL rivals
- Meanwhile Jack Bird has re-signed with the Dragons
- Rooster Angus Crichton might switch codes to Super Rugby in World Cup bid
The Melbourne Storm have reported tabled a beefed-up contract to star five-eighth Cameron Munster in a bid to keep him at the club long-term and ward off interest from a host of NRL clubs.
After locking up stars Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Harry Grant and Xavier Coates, the Storm initially only tabled an offer of $750,000 a season over two years to the Maroons and Kangaroos representative.
That meant they were at long odds to retain the Rockhampton product, with new franchise the Dolphins along with the Brisbane Broncos, Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra circling and willing to offer long-term deals in excess of $1 million.
Keeping the band together: The Storm have increased their offer to Munster in a bid to keep him at the club along with Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Harry Grant
Munster will earn $1.2 million in the final year of his current deal at the Storm and if he is allowed to go to market in November, it is expected rival clubs will be willing to pony up similar cash.
However News Corp journalist Phil Rothfield told Munster’s agent and NRL 360 host Braith Anasta the Storm have since increased their offer and added an extra year to the contract.
‘They’re desperate to keep Cameron, he’s playing strong,’ Rothfield said.
‘The Storm originally offered him a two-year extension, they’ve bumped it up to three years and they’re going to come back to you or Cameron with a bit of extra cash too.’
Meanwhile the Dragons have locked up star utility Jack Bird after their initial offer was rejected.
News Corp have reported that the Dragons sealed a three-year deal worth $550,000 a season, with an agreement struck on Monday night after the club demanded the issue be resolved.
The third year will be a mutual option, requiring both parties to agree to Bird staying on.
Bird has played a number of positions for the Dragons, Brisbane Broncos and Cronulla Sharks along with the New South Blues and was playing five-eighth for St George Illawarra before suffering a broken arm in the club’s impress Anzac Day win over the Sydney Roosters.
Jack Bird suffered a torrid run of injuries at the Brisbane Broncos but has re-claimed the sort of form at the Dragons that earned him five appearances with the New South Wales Blues
The Dragons view Bird as a long-term option in the second row with Tariq Sims reportedly on the outer at the club. But Bird will remain in the halves in the short term as young prospects Talatau Amone and Jayden Sullivan continue to develop.
Over at Bondi another forward could be on the move, with Angus Crichton linked to a code switch in time to press his claim for a Wallabies jersey at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
After quitting Souths to join their bitter rivals in 2018, Crichton has hit turbulent waters at the Roosters with a two-year contract tabled in 2021 never being registered with the NRL.
Crichton is a former New South Wales representative but his form has been indifferent to start the 2022 season. News Corp is reporting that the Roosters are keen to get Crichton off their books in order to create salary cap space for Melbourne Storm hooker Brandon Smith who will join the Chooks in 2023.
Roosters halfback Ronald Volkman and hooker Freddy Lussick have already been shipped to the New Zealand Warriors and Crichton is expected to be the next player out the door.
Crichton is a representative calibre player, but has struggled for form and minutes for the Roosters in 2022, prompting reports he could be set to defect to Super Rugby
Switching to Super Rugby is a real option for Crichton, who stared in the 15-a-side game in schoolboy days, and he has previously flagged his desire to try his hand at professional rugby.
‘There’s always the possibility to go back. To play in a Rugby World Cup would be something special,’ Crichton told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2018.
‘Australian rugby is starting to build and they are getting back on the front foot.
‘Rugby is a game I grew up playing and enjoy watching, and I could possibly go back one day, be it here in Australia or overseas.’