Irish eyes smiling on Schifcofske - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Irish eyes smiling on Schifcofske

By Jim Morton 23/04/2008 06:26:27 PM Comments (0)

Rugby convert Clinton Schifcofske has received an offer to return to the NRL but it's a big deal from Ireland that Queensland fear may lure the sharpshooter away from the Reds.

Schifcofske is weighing up a two-year offer from the Reds as well as interest from five other clubs, including a large deal from Ulster, coached by former Waratahs mentor Matt Williams.

It's understood two are from league, an unnamed NRL club and Paris-based Super League franchise Catalans, while other interest comes from rugby clubs in England and Japan.

Schifcofske's agent Steve Gillis on Wednesday denied rumours the former Canberra Raiders skipper had already agreed to terms with Irish heavyweights Ulster and said a decision could be a fortnight away.

A cloud remains over the Catalans offer after coach Michael Potter signed on with competition powerhouse St Helens.

The 32-year-old Schifcofske, married with two young children, has openly spoken about this being his last contract and is torn between staying where his family is comfortable in Brisbane or making the most of his final payday.

The Reds expect a decision within the next week and are keen to keep the popular and reliable veteran, whose prospective Super 14 offer includes Australian Rugby Union incentives.

"I don't believe he's made a decision ... but if Europe can top that (Australian rugby's offer) they're doing quite well," said Queensland high-performance manager Ben Whitaker.

The wing-fullback has enjoyed a solid conversion to league since being lured to Ballymore for the 2007 Super 14 by former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones.

Schifcofske has struck a fine back-three combination with Test fullback Chris Latham and Peter Hynes this season but his goalkicking standards have slipped with him currently registering a 68 per cent conversion rate.

With Latham sidelined for the second match with a knee problem, the former Queensland Origin fullback will wear No.15 against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday night where Queensland will attempt to end a three-year drought in New Zealand.

The Reds are waiting on a decision from tight-head Rodney Blake who has lost his ARU top-up after falling from grace in the last two seasons.

Queensland, with 23 off-contract players this season, have started talks with former NSW and Wallabies centre Morgan Turinui whose ARU top-up funds are also in jeopardy.

Turinui returned to form in the 29-12 upset of the Western Force on Friday, scoring a try and being more prominent in both attack and defence.

"He's well aware that performance will drive rewards," said Whitaker.

"He's honest and understanding where he sits right now which he should be."

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