GI may stay with Storm, as three go - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

GI may stay with Storm, as three go

By Melissa Woods and Wayne Heming 19/07/2010 08:11:43 PM Comments (0)

Greg Inglis may yet have a future at the Melbourne Storm after the NRL club revealed that three players have signed deals with English club Wigan.

Seeking to slash $1.325 million worth of talent to get under the salary cap, the club has started to chip away at its wages bill with Ryan Hoffman, Jeff Lima and Brett Finch confirmed departures to the Super League side.

Inglis - one of the "big four" at the Storm along with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk - was thought to be on the cusp of a deal with Brisbane but the Melbourne side's earlier suggestion they were still in the hunt for the superstar centre may yet ring true.

"There has been renewed interest (from Brisbane) but in terms of any finalisation or requests for a release, nothing could be further from the truth there," Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said earlier on Monday.

"He's (Inglis) been linked to the Broncos but in terms of getting close to a signature, it's premature, if it's going to happen at all.

"He might be leading people up the garden path because at this stage he's got a contract for the next two years with the Melbourne Storm and that's where it stands."

The trio's departure may have trimmed just under half of the $1.325m figure the Storm need to reach to get under the cap.

It had followed five years of systematic breaches which cost the club two NRL premierships and the capacity to earn competition points in 2010.

Second rower Hoffman, prop Lima and five-eighth Finch will leave Melbourne at the end of this NRL season and reunite with ex-Storm assistant coach, Michael Maguire, the current Wigan head coach.

Hoffman, who spent eight years with the Storm, hoped his departure opened the door for someone else.

"It was a very tough decision to go but hopefully, with me taking this opportunity overseas, it will give someone else the chance to have the same great experiences that I have had here," he said.

"I'm proud and honoured to have been able to play for the Storm."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said it was tough to farewell players who had made such a mark in their time in Melbourne.

"It's always a sad time when you have to say farewell to one player, let alone three," said Bellamy.

Another sticking point to a proposed Inglis move to Brisbane is Melbourne's commitment to getting full price for their Queensland and Australian representative.

The Broncos have refused to up their initial $400,000 offer for the centre, despite it being well short of his current Storm deal reportedly worth $660,000.

Any shortfall would count towards the Storm's cap next year and the embattled club are adamant such a situation will not arise.

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