Rogers' league switch likely this week - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rogers' league switch likely this week

12/12/2006 07:07:55 PM Comments (0)

Mat Rogers' early release date from rugby union is set down for Thursday.

Rogers, desperate to return to rugby league, will meet with NSW Waratahs officials on Wednesday before making final contractual arrangements with the Australian Rugby Union the following day.

On Wednesday, the ARU will announce Thursday's three-cornered midday meeting with Rogers and the NSWRU to be followed by a media conference.

The Gold Coast Titans are poised to swoop on the disgruntled Wallabies utility once an expected announcement is made public.

On Tuesday, Rogers made his first contact with the ARU since the national body gave him a week to consider his future after reports broke he wanted to return to league.

An ARU spokesman confirmed the ARU was looking for a quick resolution after the 45-Test back last week asked for a release from his $500,000-a-season deal.

"As it's all been played out in the media there's probably no big surprise where it will end," he said.

As the Waratahs are not expected to stand in Rogers' way if he maintains his desire for a premature second code switch, the Titans have readied themselves to have their prize 2008 recruit on the tourist strip a year earlier.

"Yes, we want him and, yes, he will be a fantastic addition to our squad but his contractual arrangements with the ARU and NSW Rugby Union need to be clarified before we can make any moves at all," said Titans boss Michael Searle.

"It will be safe to say we'll be contacting him as soon as he's released, if that's what happens."

Searle says there's enough room to squeeze the dual international into the salary cap but the Titans will not free up funds by allowing signing Steve Turner to remain with Melbourne.

It's seen as two separate issues by the fledgling league club and Searle is continuing attempts to resolve Turner's non-compliance.

A high-level ARU source told AAP on Tuesday that Rogers' return to league was as much about money as family reasons and had been made easier through payments from a third party sponsor.

Rogers' older brother Don was reportedly released from hospital on Tuesday after a drug overdose last week.

While the Rugby Union Players' Association and some rugby heavyweights want to see the 30-year-old play out his contract, former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones indicated the ARU shouldn't have hesitated in releasing him immediately.

"If a player is vacillating about his intentions then we should be decisive," Jones said.

"I don't think we should be desperate to hang on to players if they don't want to be here.

"Let's be strong enough in the belief we can maintain our game."

Jones, who ushered Rogers into the Test team in 2002 and played him at five-eighth with success in the 2005 European tour, felt the utility wouldn't be effective at the 2007 World Cup.

"It's very difficult if his mind is somewhere else and I think that showed in the games that he played on the (recent European) tour," he said.

Even if a hungry Rogers remains in the code, Jones said incumbent playmaker Stephen Larkham would receive more pressure from a host of young guns led by Queensland flyhalf Berrick Barnes.

Reds coach Jones has huge wraps on Barnes' understudy Quade Cooper, who he rates as good as fellow schoolboy sensation Kurtley Beale, who now has the inside running to wear NSW's No.10 jersey.

"I think Beale will start (for NSW) and I'll be very surprised if Quade isn't competing very hard with Berrick," he said.

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