Orford may return if deal falls through - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Orford may return if deal falls through

By Ed Jackson 19/11/2009 03:40:03 PM Comments (0)

Manly could welcome back departing skipper Matt Orford if his lucrative move to English Super League club Bradford falls through, but the Sea Eagles are not holding their breath.

The future of 2008 NRL premiership-winner Orford's deal with the Bulls is unclear after a claim the club is trying to renege on an agreement with former Gold Coast winger Chris Walker to fit him into their import quota.

Walker's manager Chris Orr said he had engaged a lawyer as he looks to protect what is believed to be a $400,000 deal over two years.

Manly chairman Scott Penn said on Thursday the Sea Eagles would look at the possibility of re-signing the 31-year-old halfback if his move was blocked.

"We'd certainly need to review the situation if that was to occur," Penn told AAP.

"Obviously we've got a great relationship with Matt and he's still going to be training with the boys until he goes over.

"If something was to change with that deal then we'd have to review at that time."

However, Penn wasn't expecting that to occur, saying the Bulls' decision to release former Great Britain halfback Paul Deacon would make the English side desperate to do what it takes to seal the deal.

"Looking at media reports and what they've done with their halfback at Bradford, to me, in my opinion, it looks like they need a halfback," Penn said.

A potential hurdle if Orford's English move does fall over is the fact several key Sea Eagles will be coming off contract at the end of next season.

International representatives Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Josh Perry and Steve Matai are among those Manly are hoping to sign new deals with, as well as rising star Kieran Foran.

"It's no secret that we're having to manage our cap very carefully," Penn said.

"With Matt moving on it gives us the opportunity to create a little bit of breathing room.

"The fact is we'll put a different plan in place and if Matt's situation changed then we'll review it at that time."

The Sea Eagles have already said they would be looking to give current players Foran and Trent Hodkinson the chance to claim the club's No.7 jersey, and Penn ruled out the club using Orford's departure to sign a recruit in another position.

"We're very comfortable with our roster in 2010, we've got some great new recruits but more importantly we've got some significant talent coming through," he said.

Orford will continue to train with the Sea Eagles before his expected departure for England in mid-December.

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