O'Meley confirmed as a Rooster in 2008 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Meley confirmed as a Rooster in 2008

By Todd Balym and Daniel Pace 02/05/2007 06:54:33 PM Comments (0)

Craig Wing believes Mark O'Meley will be an invaluable recruit for the Sydney Roosters, but whether the pair will become teammates next year remains to be seen.

O'Meley confirmed the worst kept secret in rugby league by signing a four-year deal, believed to worth $1.6 million, to join the Roosters in 2008.

The NSW and Test prop had long been considered bound for Bondi Junction after the Bulldogs refused to upgrade their offer and signed Kiwi international Sonny Bill Williams to a long-term deal.

O'Meley, 25, leaves the Dogs after five seasons in which he cemented himself as one of the leading forwards in the NRL.

Wing welcomed the confirmation of O'Meley's signing, but the 27-year-old wouldn't comment on his own situation.

He is off contract at the Roosters and O'Meley's highly paid recruitment could leave little room under the salary cap for Wing as the club has prioritised the retention of their younger players.

"I've played with him before in Origin and he's very professional in his preparation and his attitude towards the game," said Wing.

"I think that'll be invaluable for the Roosters and particularly the younger guys coming through in the forward positions.

"I think they'll really be able to learn off him in how to approach big games and how to be a rep player.

"He's certainly not afraid of the tough stuff or any confrontation whatsoever and that's pretty much the kind of guy you want in the front row."

Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said securing O'Meley until the end of 2011 was a "key signing" as he was a player the club could build their future around and hopefully lead them to premiership success.

"That's the aim, (but) we won't put that much pressure on him just yet," said Canavan.

"He is a very experienced player, a representative player and he is at that mid-range age for a front rower and he will hopefully be at our club for a long time.

"We see Mark O'Meley as a key signing ... he is only going to get better at the age of 25."

Canavan said discussions with veteran Wing were ongoing but added, "we have made it a priority to sign our younger players."

Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad conceded his club simply could not match the Roosters offer.

O'Meley turned down a two-year offer from the club, choosing the Roosters higher deal because of the security it provided him and his family.

He is the sixth member of the Bulldogs 2004 premiership side, plus Steve Price and nine other members of the squad at the time, to leave the club.

O'Meley, Price, Roy Asotasi, Braith Anasta and Johnathan Thurston all left due to salary cap constraints.

"We were not able to put forward a competitive offer with the Roosters," said Noad.

"The reality with the salary cap is you have to balance keeping as many high profile players as you can whilst introducing new blood into the club.

"In this day and age you simply cannot keep all your high profile players."

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