NRL supports Titans' fight over Turner - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL supports Titans' fight over Turner

By Daniel Pace and Guy Hand 16/08/2006 06:34:01 PM Comments (0)

The National Rugby League has sided with Gold Coast in a bitter tug-of-war between Melbourne and the Titans over in-form winger Steve Turner.

The NRL will refuse to register the Storm's contract with Turner, despite the 21-year-old re-signing with the competition leader for another three years.

Titans managing director Michael Searle met with NRL chief executive David Gallop in Sydney to plead his case after the fledgling club trumpeted the recruitment of Turner on a three-year deal on June 19.

But Turner had a change of heart and re-signed with the Storm until the end of 2009, infuriating Gold Coast officials who claim he had broken a "partly written, partly verbal" agreement with the franchise.

Turner admitted he had told the Titans he would play for them next season, but he had never signed a contract nor any pre-contract agreement.

"There was no letter of intent signed and when my manager (David Riolo) came to me with the contract, I said `look, I want to stay here with the Storm' and he said we'd see what we could do.

"My goal is to be a Storm player for 2007 and years to come."

Gallop said the NRL would review the documentation from the Titans but he was satisfied the club had struck a legally binding agreement with Turner.

"Our preliminary view is that a deal was struck between the player and the Titans," said Gallop, adding he had received an email from Riolo supporting the Gold Coast's case.

"We would in that situation support the Titans in securing the player.

"Everyone must accept that a deal is a deal once made and can't be ignored unless both parties agree."

It is understood the Storm offered Turner an extra $100,000 to stay in Melbourne after initially saying they couldn't fit him under the salary cap.

Searle said Turner had made frequent references to joining the Titans in the media and had spent two days in June looking for property on the Gold Coast.

"Yesterday morning the kid was on national radio saying how much he was looking forward to playing with the Titans and playing fullback," Searle noted.

The Storm - involved in a similar dispute over Parramatta prop Fuifui Moimoi two years ago - said it would fight to the hilt to ensure Turner's new contract with the club was declared legal.

Melbourne's position is that according to NRL rules, clubs have 10 days after a contract is entered into to lodge the paperwork - and the Titans had not done so.

"I'd like to think commonsense would prevail - I certainly wouldn't want to have an employee in my business who didn't want to be there," Waldron said.

"The reality is he's a signed Melbourne Storm player. The contract has been lodged within the rules.

"We have it documented between us and Steve that we have a three-year deal, and we'll push forward and support that 100 per cent."

Searle said there would be no hard feelings against Turner, whom he believes was pressured into re-signing with the Storm.

"This hasn't diminished our position on him," Searle said. "He's a 21-year-old kid that's obviously been easily influenced."

The contractual dispute overshadowed an announcement that Gold Coast business ABC Brick Sales will be the club's sleeve sponsor for the next three years.

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