Gasnier considering leaving Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gasnier considering leaving Dragons

By Todd Balym 12/05/2008 06:17:50 AM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra star Mark Gasnier confirmed he is considering walking out on the NRL to play rugby union in France as club chief executive Peter Doust revealed the captain has a clause in his five-year contract enabling him to leave at any time.

Gasnier has an offer to switch codes and follow close friend Craig Gower to France at the end of the season, and with a French fiancee he is seriously considering leaving the NRL and activating the escape clause in his $600,000 a season deal.

Doust said he would do all he could to convince Gasnier to stay, and expects incoming coach Wayne Bennett to become involved in the negotiation, but confirmed the 26-year-old has the power to get out of his deal.

The news that Gasnier can re-negotiate his position at the club each year is sure to spark interest around the world, particularly with the boss of the world's richest league club Wigan, Ian Lenegan, in Sydney actively poaching NRL stars.

"Don't put it as in I'm trying to get out of my contract," said Gasnier.

"I've been confronted with a situation that I've had to react to and I'm doing it in my best interests.

"I've explored options over there (France) yeah.

"Something has happened and yeah I've gone and looked."

Gasnier would not reveal exactly which club has made the approach, fearing the situation would escalate into the negotiation circus of his previous contract when he was pursued by the Australian Rugby Union before agreeing to remain at the Dragons.

He would also not discuss how long it would be until he makes a decision.

"I know it's going to cause speculation but I can't," he said.

"I'm not going to go and say the exact situation and make a whole circus of the thing because I don't want it to be a deja vu of what happened two years ago.

"I don't think it's fair on the club and not fair on everyone.

"I'm not one to pinpoint names or whatever it is. There's definitely no ill feeling between the club and I and I want the fans to understand that.

"In a perfect world it would have been resolved and never would have come out."

Doust was "stunned" that Gasnier could soon simply walk out on the club, but admitted he had negotiated the deal with manager George Mimis which handed the power to the player.

"There is a clause in his contract which enables him to make decisions on a yearly basis about the subsequent terms of the contract, terms in years," said Doust.

"That is there for a reason I'm not prepared to comment about.

"It's a long term contract, five years is a long time to sign a contract.

"I have not spoken to next year's coach (Bennett) about it, but I'm sure it is something he would be interested in.

"Gaz is contracted until 2011 and I'll be doing the best I can to see him fulfil that contract.

"We want him to be here and be a Dragons man."

The news of Gasnier's possible departure comes on the eve of the Dragons presenting dual international Wendell Sailor as a new signing after his two year suspension for testing positive to cocaine expires.

Doust also confirmed his club had pulled out of the race for former captain Trent Barrett, who will be granted a release from Wigan, but with Gasnier possibly leaving the chief executive could have a whole lot more money to spend in 2009.

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