This story was first published on Stuff.co.nz and has been republished with their permission.
Chanel Harris-Tavita’s future at the Warriors could become clearer tomorrow, while the club will officially table its offer to Joey Manu on the same day.
From November 1 NRL clubs are able to begin contract negotiations with all players coming off deals at the end of the 2022 season.
So tomorrow will be when top NRL agent Stan Martin gets busy talking to clubs about not only Harris-Tavita, but Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith, who he also represents.
Martin will send out separate player profiles on Harris-Tavita and Smith out asking for expressions of interest and soon after send another profile out, asking for contract offers.
With Smith, preliminary talks with a number of clubs have already begun and there’s plenty of interest in the 25-year-old hooker, although the Warriors aren’t one of the club’s he’s likely to end up at.
For Harris-Tavita talks are at an earlier stage and initially it will be about taking expressions of interest and going from there.
It could be intriguing as to whether the Dolphins chase Harris-Tavita. Wayne Bennett is believed to be an admirer of the 22-year-old, but the fledgling club’s new recruitment manager, Peter O’Sullivan wasn’t keen on just yet offering the halfback a contract for beyond 2022 during his time at the Warriors, which ended on Friday.
Although O’Sullivan has left the Warriors, the club’s position not to offer Harris-Tavita a new contract yet hasn’t changed, even if that means another club snaps him.
Super League clubs wouldn’t be able to pay the money Smith can get in the NRL, but for Harris-Tavita they might be able to get near it. However, at this stage in his career, remaining in this part of the world would be Harris-Tavita’s preference.
If there isn’t a suitable offer, going to Europe for a year wouldn’t be ruled out and then coming back to the NRL.
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It was a plan that worked out well for Peta Hiku, as his career was going nowhere with the Panthers in 2017, but a switch to Warrington rejuvenated him and he became an overnight crowd favourite.
On the back of that, he picked up a contract with the Warriors, continued playing well and is off to the Cowboys on a two-year deal from next season.
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A Warriors offer to Harris-Tavita could depend on whether they’re able to land Manu, who would cost the club around $1 million a season and he would likely switch to playing in the halves.
Getting Manu could make Harris-Tavita surplus to requirements.
Warriors CEO Cameron George confirmed that the club had sorted out its targets for players they want to chase.
“From November 1 we can present offers to players who are off contract in 2023. We’ve got a plan to be active across the board,” George said.
“Regardless of whether Peter O’Sullivan was here, we know what we need to do in terms of that and we’re ready to go and no doubt other clubs have been waiting for November 1.”
The Warriors are also after Parramatta lock Marate Niukore and Cronulla five-eighth Luke Metcalf, but it’s unlikely any of these players would be given early releases to join the Warriors next year.
However, if the Roosters granted Manu permission to leave early, the Warriors would look to make it work to fit him inside its salary cap for 2022.
But it won’t be a straight forward process to get Manu. The Roosters are desperate to keep him, the Wests Tigers will chase hard, along with other clubs.
There is also the possibility he’ll switch codes to chase the dream of being an All Black and Ian Foster told Stuff a few months ago that he’s a keen admirer of the Tokoroa born 25-year-old.
“There will be as stack of clubs in for Joey and we’re just one of many,” George said.
“We’ll wait and see what happens with this, but we’re certainly not the only club.
“All we know is he’s part of our intentions from November 1, so we’ll see where we land with it.”
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