Saab, who lives in the western Sydney suburb of Greystanes, has told the club he is struggling with the commute from his family home to Wollongong each day. The Dragons have been told the ordeal surrounding his future has impacted on his wellbeing.
The Dragons understand his predicament and had been willing to release him to a western Sydney club that would absolve him of the problem he now finds himself in.
However, St George Illawarra officials are privately bemused by the situation that has unfolded given that the commute required from Greystanes to Manly’s training base in Narrabeen is similar, if not more time-consuming, than the trip to Wollongong.
While Wollongong is almost double the distance from Greystanes than Narrabeen, the commute from Greystanes to the northern beaches often takes up to two hours in morning traffic, while Wollongong is about an hour and 20 minutes drive.
The Dragons are refusing to budge until they get an outcome that suits their roster, ending a recent attempt at a swap deal for Manly’s Reuben Garrick.
The Dragons have turned their attention to a player at another club, potentially in another position, and could be closing in on a deal that would free Saab to join Des Hasler at the Sea Eagles.
Fed-up Wests Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe has called a meeting with NRL officials to discuss the role of managers in the game, having been frustrated by recent negotiations involving Josh Addo-Carr, who is also managed by Tartak, and Aloiai.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys told The Herald in August that the NRL would be looking into the current system, which allows players to walk out on contracts to receive more money elsewhere.
The Commission is expected to be presented with a proposal from NRL salary cap auditor and chief financial officer Richard Gardham over the off-season that will address one of the biggest blights on the game.
The NRL is considering banning clubs from offering more money than the players stand to earn in their existing contracts.
“There will be a complete review in the off season,” V’landys said. “I can assure you we will be addressing the frustrations of the fans.”
In other transfer news:
- The Parramatta Eels have told Blake Ferguson he will not be at the club beyond the end of next season, opting against extending the contract of the former NSW winger. The Eels aren’t actively forcing Ferguson out of the club, but nor would they stand in his way should he land an extended deal at a rival club, opening the door for a potential play at Josh Mansour.
- The Wests Tigers are willing to offer Mansour, who has been told he won’t start next year in first grade, a contract for 2021 and 2022. The winger is holding out for another year on top.
- The Bulldogs’ hopes of Penrith releasing Matt Burton in 2021 appear slim. The Panthers are making plans to play Burton at centre next year pending Brent Naden’s rehabilitation from alcohol-related issues. Canterbury are one of several teams, including Cronulla and Melbourne, hopeful of finding out Burton’s long-term future within the next week.
- The Wests Tigers are considering offering James Roberts a one-year deal on $150,000 with strict conditions, similar to the one-strike agreement he had with South Sydney.
- The Eels have receeived approval from the NRL Integrity Unit to sign Bryce Cartwright. The NRL wanted to make sure everything was above board with his departure from the Titans before the Eels could announce the $130,000 deal.
- Stephen Crichton will meet with the Panthers in the next few weeks to discuss the fallout from the handshake agreement gone wrong. Crichton’s manager will argue he is worth more than the $1.5 million, three-year deal that was agreed upon mid-season. He is expected to remain at Penrith but on a more lucrative deal.
- Josh Aloiai has been ordered back to training on November 30 despite mocking club chairman Lee Hagipantelis. The Tigers won’t release him until there is an advantageous outcome for the club.
- Penrith fullback Daine Laurie has agreed to a two-year deal with the Wests Tigers from 2022. His manager, Matt Desira, is expected to request an early release to play first grade with the Tigers in 2021.
Michael Chammas is a sports reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald