Broncos withdraw Karmichael Hunt offer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos withdraw Karmichael Hunt offer

16/03/2009 09:23:31 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane still remain hopeful of retaining star fullback Karmichael Hunt despite playing hard-ball by withdrawing their contract offer late Monday.

The Broncos stuck by their round one deadline for the offer, believed to more than $1 million over three years, when Hunt failed to respond at the weekend.

Chief executive Bruno Cullen insisted the Broncos were comfortable with the offer tabled early this year but were unable to continue waiting for Hunt to pursue other options, including a lucrative rugby contract in Japan.

Talks have stalled and the club delivered the strong message they wouldn't be drawn into a bidding war for the 22-year-old.

"The time frames were not suitable to either the Brisbane Broncos or Karmichael's management and, as a club, we have had to withdraw the offer and move on," Cullen said in a club statement.

"I must stress that this does not mean that the Broncos do not want to retain Karmichael Hunt.

"What it means is the club will now go about securing our roster for 2010 and the future, which may or may not include Karmichael Hunt."

The 11-Test Australian and Queensland back is, along with skipper Darren Lockyer, the player Brisbane are most determined to keep.

But the Broncos have taken the risk of losing Hunt, like they did Petero Civoniceva in 2007, to ensure they keep their desired roster under the salary cap.

There's a feeling the Broncos may be calling Hunt's bluff as no formal Japanese offer has been made public and the contract window closes at the end of the month.

The Australian Rugby Union also failed to start negotiations late last year because there were concerns he wasn't genuine about crossing codes even though he is understood to be keen to remain in Brisbane.

Hunt's manager David Riolo failed to return calls on Monday night.

A Sunday newspaper this month reported the fullback had one other formal offer on the table, a $1.25 million deal over three years.

Along with playmaker Lockyer, who turns 32 next week and is keen to play on for two years, the Broncos will also have a fight to keep young gun David Taylor who is being chased by up to six clubs.

The Broncos re-signed Queensland and Test forward Sam Thaiday this month and have turned most of their attention on retaining Test skipper Lockyer.

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