Joseph Manu is willing to test his value on the open market. Picture: Craig Golding
Joseph Manu is willing to test his value on the open market. Picture: Craig Golding

Chooks move to ward off poachers from pen

SYDNEY Roosters big guns Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Joseph Manu are confident of securing their futures in a matter of weeks.

Salary cap pressure will force the back-to-back title winners to shed at least one premiership-winning player but it won't be rising star Manu.

The star centre is off contract at the end of season 2020 and is free to talk to rivals in just nine days when he officially goes on the market.

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But Manu, who will line up for New Zealand against Australia on Friday night at WIN Stadium, said he has been in talks with the Bondi club "all year" and is confident of securing his future.

"I'm pretty happy at the Roosters, everyone at the club has been great to me and we obviously won again this year. But I haven't thought about it too much. There have been talks but I want to focus on the Test matches coming up. Once that's done then hopefully we can knock it out and it over and done with," Manu said.

"We've been talking all year, it's not like I want to leave and it's not like they want to let me go."

Despite his eagerness to remain at the club, the youngster hasn't completely closed the door on the idea of testing the market.

"Like I said, I'm happy at the Roosters and I don't want to leave but at the end of the day you want to know what you're really worth, where you want to be at in the future and all that comes into play but I'll be sorting it out once it's all [Test matches] finished," Manu said.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves faces the prospect of leaving his beloved Roosters. Picture: Mark Metcalfe
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves faces the prospect of leaving his beloved Roosters. Picture: Mark Metcalfe

After some initial homesickness when he first arrived to Bondi five years ago from Tokoroa, a small town in Hamilton on New Zealand's North Island, Manu said he finally feels at home in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.

"I love Sydney, it's a cool place. At first it was a bit too much, it still can be a bit too much, coming from a small town it's a bit different. I just stay inside all day," Manu said with a laugh.

The Roosters have eight regular first graders off-contract at the end of season 2020 - including veterans Jake Friend, Brett Morris and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Forward Zane Tetevano, who missed out on playing this year's grand final, will be a free agent on November 1.

Tricolours and Kiwis enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who has played 213 games and won three titles at the Roosters, said he is eager to secure his future at the Roosters.

There has been speculation the Penrith Panthers are preparing a lucrative offer to lure the experienced prop from the Eastern Suburbs to Sydney's west.

"Obviously I'm still contracted and I've been at the Roosters for 10 years. I'd like to stay.

Latrell Mitchell is soon to be in high demand. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Latrell Mitchell is soon to be in high demand. Picture: Phil Hillyard

There's a bit of talk but that's just external stuff, for me it's about worrying about my football and hopefully I can get a deal done very shortly," Waerea-Hargreaves said.

Kangaroos centre Latrell Mitchell is the other big name to go on the market in less than two weeks.

Mitchell was a recruitment target for the Canterbury Bulldogs as they continue to rebuild their roster under coach Dean Pay.

But it's understood the Belmore club have gone cold on Mitchell with the Bulldogs unable to meet the superstar's asking price.

Elsewhere, the Wests Tigers have extended veteran forward Chris Lawrence for one more season.

The Newcastle Knights have agreed to release forward James Gavet from the final year of his contract with the club.


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