Angus Crichton, Sydney Roosters, salary cap crisis, Luke Keary, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, contract, transfers

Phil Rothfield revealed a salary cap squeeze rather than a three player exodus to bring Cameron Munster to the club, could cost the Roosters Angus Crichton.

The Roosters were rumored to be chasing Munster by offloading Crichton, Luke Keary and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, but Rothfield revealed that Crichton’s extension with the club cannot be rubber-stamped by the NRL due to a salary cap squeeze next season.

“The bottom line is I don’t think Munster will be at the Roosters because they have serious salary cap issues,” Rothfield said on NRL 360.

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“They have got Joey Manu who is not off-contract until 2024 and he’s on $800,000 a year. They got James Tedesco on $1.1 million. Luke Keary is on $850,000. Brandon Smith next year is on $800,000 as well.

“So I just don’t think there is room for a $1.1 or $1.2 million player.”

Rothfield believes rugby union could again be on the table for Crichton as the Roosters aim to get their salary cap in shape, before they can contemplate signing a player like Munster.

“I’ll tell you how much pressure their salary cap is under, Angus Crichton agreed to terms and the deal wasn’t signed because they cannot lodge it with the NRL because it would put them over the cap for next year,” Rothfield said .

“Ronald Volkman and Freddy Lussick have left to go to the Warriors. Sio Siua Taukeiaho goes at the end of the year. Kevin Naiqama goes. Sam Verrills will probably go.

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Angus Crichton’s contract extension has been blocked by the NRL.Source: Supplied

“Crichton possibly might go, but they have got a deal with him and they don’t want to dud him.

“If the Wallabies came up and rugby union, I’m sure they would probably let him go.

“That talk has been around for a long time.”

Paul Kent agreed Crichton could potentially move to rugby union for a similar deal to what the Roosters offered, but explained how the Tri-colours could create cap room.

“For similar money he probably would,” Kent agreed on Crichton’s potential switch to the 15 man code.

“But the talk was they were going to move Luke Keary on.

“They can move him on because he is a quality five-eighth, who is playing in a competition where there is not enough quality five-eighths.

“I know he is on significant money, but that would actually be part of the reason why the Roosters might be willing to move him on because he takes up so much of their cap next season. He’s on $1.3 million next year.”

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Luke Keary was linked with exit rumors to bring Cameron Munster to the club.Source: Getty Images

Munster’s manager Braith Anasta pointed out that if the Roosters are under salary cap pressure it gives more weight to the rumors they are trying to offload players, regardless of the connection to his client, which he denied.

“That actually says that Kenty is not far from the mark if they are under the pump that means they are considering offloading players,” Anasta said.

“Regardless of Munster that is irrelevant.”

However, Rothfield explained the Roosters also have three players they need to bump up on upgraded contracts.

“There are also three Roosters players that are going to need upgrades in Victor Radley, Joseph Suaalii, who is off-contract at the end of this year and Sam Walker, who can talk to other clubs in November,” Rothfield said.

“So rather than bring in Munster they have got a lot of work to do on their cap.”

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Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was caught up in the Cameron Munster rumours.Source: Getty Images

Regardless, Kent pointed to a brilliant one year rebuild the Roosters underwent in 2015 as evidence they can manoeuvre their roster in short time better than any team in the NRL.

“The Roosters don’t apologise for success,” Kent said.

“I remember talking to Trent Robinson some years back around 2015 when they had that really poor season. After about six rounds I was chatting to him and I asked him how are you going to fix this?

“He said, we have got our salary cap in trouble and I went to Nick Politis and said, we have two ways to deal with this. The slow way is to take three years and we will turn it over and get back in shape or we can do it in one year, but it is going to be a bad year for us. But then next year we will be OK.

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“So Politis said, do it in one year and that was the bad year they had. I think they finished second last that year and Robinson said to me at the time, I think we will be in a good position next year to win the comp.

“At the time it seemed absurd that he would say that, but I think they made the preliminary final the following season because they took all their pain in one year.

“What they were able to do was turn their roster over very quickly. Nobody is better in the cattle trade than the Roosters.”

However, Rothfield and Anasta believe Keary holds too much respect at the club to be moved on in such a way.

“I think the club has too much respect for Keary to even ask him to move on,” Rothfield said.

“I agree and they should, he has given a lot,” Anasta said.

“Clive Churchill Medal winner and a dual premiership winner with the club. When he played with Cooper Cronk in the grand final he was the best player on that field.

“All due respect to Coops, but he (Keary) was the man of the moment. You do have to reward loyalty and give back sometimes.”

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