Wallace in hot demand but off market - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallace in hot demand but off market

By Todd Balym and Steve Jancetic 22/05/2008 07:09:06 PM Comments (0)

NSW halfback Peter Wallace is the hottest property not on the open market after his rousing State of Origin debut enhanced his popularity among potential suitors.

Wallace is on a two-year $180,000-a-season deal with Brisbane and contrary to previous reports he is secured until the end of 2009 regardless of his shock Origin call-up.

A clause in the Bronco's contract says the club can offer him an upgrade or extension within 28 days of his Origin debut but the 22-year-old is not able to shop himself around the NRL and leave Brisbane before the end of 2009.

This hasn't deterred hungry NRL clubs though with up to six expressing keen interest with Wallace's manager Allan Gainey, including at least two in the past 24 hours.

"(Clubs have been interested) probably since he's been up in Brisbane and gone well up there," said Gainey.

"The interest is more intense since being selected in Origin. I had one call yesterday and one this morning just to let me know they're still interested if he goes on the market.

"I have had some correspondence with the Broncos this morning and I think they will come and talk to us next week when it all settles down.

"(But) they are probably struggling a bit to stay under the cap (for 2009)."

Gainey would not reveal which "five or six clubs" had shown interest in Wallace, but it's believed they're all NRL teams who are struggling to find a permanent halfback.

Cronulla recently released their No.7 Brett Kimmorley to join the Bulldogs in 2009, but are believed to have all but secured returning star Trent Barrett, while St George Illawarra, South Sydney, Canberra, Parramatta and Manly have all had issues in cementing solid scrumbase combinations.

Penrith have also struggled in the halves since letting Wallace go and recruiting him back to the club would be a massive turnaround after they failed to offer him the $120,000 he requested at the start of last season.

That figure appears a bargain price now as Wallace's rising popularity could see him command close to $300,000 on the open market.

But his manager insisted the cool-headed youngster would repay the faith to Brisbane for taking a punt on him this season.

"If they come up with the right sort of offer to where he is situated now I think he is a pretty loyal bloke," said Gainey.

"They have the option to throw something at us we can consider or we can sit it out and he will be on the market in 2010."

Meanwhile the ongoing Barrett saga is edging closer to a resolution after the Bulldogs finally agreed to release utility Cameron Phelps to Wigan after attaining winger Nick Youngquest from Wests Tigers.

The Warriors had withheld Barrett's release confirmation until they secured a viable replacement and Phelps, who played most of his NRL career on the wing, looks the likely solution as he is expected to play a more hands-on role at the English club.

Barrett's manager Wayne Beavis will seek confirmation of the 30-year-old's release from Wigan boss Ian Lenagan on Thursday night with a hope they can move quickly to finalise the former St George Illawarra skipper's future at either the Sharks or Canberra.

"I've been hoping to have this sorted out for a while now, unfortunately they're the ones driving the bus," said Beavis.

In other signing news, Beavis was hopeful of having the future of impressive Tigers backrower Chris Heighington sorted out by the end of next week.

The Country Origin representative is in hot demand with St George Illawarra showing a lot of interest in adding the 26-year-old to their pack.

Heighington, though, is favoured to remain at the Tigers where club officials are hoping he will form a devastating second row combination with incoming Great Britain Test representative Gareth Ellis in 2009.

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