Joe Galuvao Ups The Ante At

Kiwi second rower Joe Galuvao is pushing for an upgraded deal at National Rugby League (NRL) premiers Penrith, an early indication the club may struggle to hold their champion team.

Galuvao, named yesterday to face the Kangaroos in the centenary trans-Tasman test at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday, will be forced to test the market when the NRL's anti-tampering deadline expires on June 30.

The former Auckland Warrior will start a test for New Zealand for the first time after making his Kiwis debut off the bench against the Kangaroos in Sydney in July.

Galuvao's manager, Alan Gainey, told the League Correspondent the second rower would like to stay at Penrith but deserved a bigger contract.

"Joe is 25 now and he is yet to sign a big contract. He'd like to earn a big contract for his next deal but, quite frankly, he's been playing for contracts way under the odds.

"He's not in the position to take a reduced salary because of his age and because of deals that he has done before," Gainey said.

Galuvao, who was offered a NRL lifeline by Penrith last year after playing Bartercard Cup in Auckland, is on a deal said to be worth around $A90,000 ($NZ104,810) a season.

He is one of a host of Penrith players coming off contract at the end of next season.

Props Joel Clinton, Martin Lang and grand final man-of-the-match Luke Priddis head the list of players coming off contract.

Grand final hero Scott Sattler is the first big name to depart - for Wests Tigers - after been told mid-season he could not be accommodated under the $A3.25 million salary cap.

Club chief executive Shane Richardson is optimistic the team can stay together despite the salary cap restrictions.

He hopes the squad will adopt a similar attitude to Brisbane and Newcastle players who have stayed put in previous years in order to stay with a strong club.

"The side is together for next year and we want to keep this team together for as long as possible," he said.

"I'm close to getting to the line with a couple of players, but because of our charge in the finals I've had to put things on hold.

He said the club would have about $250,000 less to spend next season due to superannuation commitments and bonuses for representative players.

"That's the price of success but I'm sure that these players want to stay together, and that will be a factor.

"In the past, successful teams like Canberra back in the '90s, Brisbane and Newcastle have managed to stay together through players ignoring some of the offers that they've had."

Richardson does not anticipate players having to take pay cuts.

"I'm just hoping that we can work out a way to keep them all happy, and I think that we can."