Slim player pickings on offer in NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Slim player pickings on offer in NRL

By Steve Jancetic 30/06/2005 07:59:22 PM Comments (0)

There are slim pickings on offer for clubs looking to bolster their playing rosters for next season after teams moved swiftly to secure their top-line talent on the eve of the NRL's anti-tampering deadline.

The Sydney Roosters re-signed Queensland State of Origin utility Chris Flannery to a new three-year deal while Parramatta agreed to new contracts with six players, including John Morris, Eric Grothe and Adam Peek.

A few weeks ago the free agents list looked like it would contain a host of representative stars, but with Bulldogs forward Willie Mason, Brisbane centre Shaun Berrigan and Melbourne's Matt King having all re-signed with their respective clubs - and Roosters firebrand Michael Crocker agreeing to terms with the Storm - the list is all of a sudden looking a little thin.

Marquee names like Braith Anasta and Matt Orford, as well as established first-graders Ashley Harrison, Steve Bell and Jamaal Lolesi are the best of a small bunch.

Wests Tigers chief executive Steve Noyce, who was wooing Crocker before he decided to head south, said he expected the free-agent list to shorten dramatically in the lead-up to June 30.

"We always knew that demand would exceed supply, it doesn't come as any surprise to be honest," Noyce said.

"We were always of the view that would happen.

"Obviously we've managed to secure (Canberra prop) Ryan O'Hara to the club, so that's a step in the right direction and in the last day or two re-signed (Todd) Payten, (Anthony) Laffranchi and (Chris) Heighington."

Noyce was confident that there was still enough talent available that could be of use to the Tigers.

"We've got the basis of a good side, we just want to add a bit to it," Noyce said.

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