The Sydney Roosters’ injury “crisis” has sent the NRL rumour mill into overdrive with star playmakers in a game of musical chairs.
The Roosters’ injury “crisis” has sent the NRL rumour mill into overdrive with speculation grand final-winning playmaker James Maloney could return to save the club in its hour of need.
Maloney has repeatedly been linked with a return to the NRL in recent years since making a move to play with Catalans in the Super League.
Maloney last year brushed off reports the Broncos had reached out to him during its nightmare 2020 season and he remains contracted with the French team until the end of 2022.
However, the Roosters were on Monday night linked with the star five-eighth after the season-ending knee injury to Luke Keary and a significant injury to Lachlan Lam that has forced the club to bring forward rising star Sam Walker’s NRL debut for this Sunday’s clash with the Warriors.
Teenage freak Joseph Suaalii also remains a chance of making his debut this weekend as a result of the Roosters’ injury list.
Channel 9 reported Monday night, the Roosters have reached out to the NRL for special injury dispensation. The Roosters in February also requested salary cap dispensation surrounding captain Boyd Cordner’s ongoing issues with concussion which have ruled him out of the first half of the 2021 season.
The club is now reportedly asking for more help from the NRL following the huge loss of Keary.
The Roosters’ track record of pulling off seemingly-impossible recruitment moves saw Maloney’s name tossed up on Monday night’s NRL 360 on Fox League.
The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield said the Roosters do not have the money in their 2021 salary cap to sign Maloney, but co-host Paul Kent speculated the team could find a way to move a player on to make space.
“Can you imagine the outrage in the NRL if the Roosters got James Maloney to return,” Rothfield said.
“They’ve been able to get away with a lot of stuff over the years.”
The Roosters’ situation headlined a massive night of rumours, including Wests Tigers star Luke Brooks’ link with the Cowboys.
Brooks was first linked with a move to North Queensland when The Australian’s Brent Read told Triple M the Cowboys would be interested in making a play for Brooks — should star playmaker Michael Morgan be medically retired as a result of a chronic shoulder injury.
Morgan was withdrawn from the Cowboys’ Round 3 loss to the Titans as a result of shoulder soreness leading to reports the 29-year-old could be forced into retirement.
If Morgan meets the NRL’s rules surrounding medical retirement, the Cowboys would be loaded up with up to $1 million in salary cap space to chase a replacement.
Brooks and under fire Cowboys coach Todd Payten have a close relationship from when Payten coached Brooks and Mitchell Moses in the Tigers U20s side.
Fox League’s James Hooper said Morgan’s retirement is a “massive story” that is playing out behind the scenes — and it appears the Cowboys’ premiership hero will be cleared to be medically retired.
Hooper also reported the Tigers have moved to convince Brooks to stay, despite the halfback being under contract until the end of the 2023 season.
The Tigers, however, have also made a public play for exiled NRL star Jackson Hastings.
A report on Friday revealed the Tigers will likely have to pay Wigan a transfer fee to free Hastings to make a return to the NRL.
Hastings is expected to request a release on the compassionate grounds of returning to his family in Sydney.
The Cowboys’ war chest, meanwhile, has also led to speculation North Queensland could circle South Sydney star Adam Reynolds, who remains in a contract stalemate with the Rabbitohs.
South Sydney is reportedly refusing to budge on a one-year deal, leading to reports it is likely Reynolds will be forced out of the club for 2022.