Rebels deny Slater deal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rebels deny Slater deal

By Guy Hand and Jim Morton 26/04/2010 07:32:22 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Rebels coach Rod Macqueen denies the fledgling rugby club is chasing Billy Slater, but admits they're closing in on ex-international Mark Gasnier.

Slater has been linked to the Rebels on a possible $1 million deal as his embattled NRL club Melbourne Storm faces the prospect of disbanding a team built by creative accounting.

Test and State of Origin player Slater is sure to be in demand should stars have to be shed, though Macqueen denies the Storm fullback is in the Rebels' sights.

"It's (speculation about signing Slater) definitely wide of the mark. It's definitely wrong. Especially when things are tough, we gave our assurances early on to the Storm and we still feel the same way," Macqueen told AAP.

"We made a point when we came down here that we wouldn't be targeting any of the Storm players in anything we did, and nothing's changed.

"The reality is we've targeted only a certain amount of players (for the Rebels) and I would say the majority of players we've targeted we've got, and there certainly are some players we've spoken to that have wanted to remain with their current franchise.

"We've said from day one we don't want to be enticing people to this franchise with money. It's very important money isn't their motivation to come to the Rebels."

But one player who could be a Rebel within a fortnight is ex-St George Illawarra back Gasnier.

The 28-year-old, who quit league for French union club Stade Francais two years ago, is set for a move back to Australia in an attempt to win selection for next year's rugby World Cup.

While also on the Queensland hit-list, Reds coach Ewen McKenzie admitted he'd much rather see starting Wallabies duo Quade Cooper and Peter Hynes re-sign than snare the versatile Gasnier who'd played under him at Stade.

"He's got some pretty good skills and is a good student of the game,"McKenzie said.

"(But) there's no point getting stressed about it because it's all theory.

"I'm more interested in getting sorted out Cooper and Hynes.

"You have to look after your backyard."

Gasnier certainly fits Macqueen's "no mercenaries" profile - facing a hefty pay cut from his lucrative European deal if he wants to return to Australia to chase a Wallabies jersey.

"He's got a decision to make - whether to come back to Australian rugby or whether to stay - obviously he's going to get more money if he stays in France," Macqueen said.

"We've said that we would like if Mark came to Australia we'd certainly like him to be with the Rebels."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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