Former NSW and Australia representative David Williams could be squeezed out of Manly as the club struggles to balance the books for next year.
Williams was dumped to the NSW Cup on Sunday following the return of winger Jorge Taufua from injury. The other wing spot went to Peta Hiku, who is poised to sign a three-year extension this week despite a more lucrative offer from the Warriors.
Williams recently signed a two-year extension but it’s understood Manly management will not stand in his way should he request a release. The “Wolfman” could dig his heels in but he is rated the third-choice winger for the Sea Eagles and faces the prospect of seeing out his contract in the NSW Cup unless injuries or form conspire against the incumbents. It’s understood Manly powerbrokers plan to discuss the matter with Williams’ management this week.
The Sea Eagles are keen to retain Glenn Stewart but don’t have room under the salary cap to table him an offer. Officials have spoken to his management about the possibility of keeping him should other players be released. However, the grand finalists are already over the cap for next year and, even if Williams departed, those funds alone wouldn’t be available for Stewart’s retention.
Manly have been arguably the most dominant club of the past decade, a constant finalist and winner of two grand finals. Former coach Des Hasler was able to retain the nucleus of the squad by back-ending contracts. The practice has proven successful but has left the current management with a problem as it tries to strike a balance between rewarding those responsible for past success while retaining enough talented youngsters to ensure the good times continue.
Other Sea Eagles off contract this year include Jamie Buhrer and Tom Symonds. Players becoming free agents the following season include Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Justin Horo and Steve Matai.
For Stewart to be made an offer, the club would most likely need to move on at least three players. Even then, the NRL could deem the contract does not reflect his status and refuse to register it.
The good news for Manly is Hiku is close to a deal. A big step towards agreement came when Hiku was preferred to Williams against Cronulla, outlining a clear career path for a man who has done a fine job at fullback covering Brett Stewart’s injuries.
“It’d be really good to stay and play at Manly,” Hiku told Sky Sports Radio.
“Everyone there has brought me in well, it’d be tough to leave. My manager called me last night, hopefully we can get something sorted this week. We’ll just see what happens there.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.