2 days ago
Anthony Mundine may have to return to rugby league on pauper's wages if he wants to play with a premiership contender, with the NRL on Friday moving to clarify its salary cap rules in reaction to his prospective comeback.
Clubs began lining up for Mundine's signature within hours of the rugby league star-turned-boxer announcing his wish to return to the NRL - and win a premiership.
Even an ultimatum from the former world boxing champion that he would only come back on his terms failed to slow down the race for his signature and the mounting interest prompted NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert to clarify with clubs the existing rules should they sign the 29-year-old.
It's understood Mundine could have his choice of clubs provided he returned on what the NRL considers normal match payments - in the vicinity of $3,000 per game.
However, should he sign a deal with match payments above that, the amounts will be counted under this year's salary cap.
That would limit his options, with most clubs having spent their salary cap this season.
That aside, Mundine's return has several clubs clamouring for his services.
South Sydney and New Zealand Warriors officials on Friday confirmed they had made informal approaches to Mundine's manager Khoder Nasser while the Sydney Roosters - who initially said they had no interest in recruiting the former NSW representative - revealed they would now consider bringing him to the club if he was serious about rugby league.
Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said he had spoken with coach Ricky Stuart this morning regarding the club's position on Mundine.
"If and when he makes a decision to return to rugby league the head coach and the retention committee and the recruitment guys will deal with it then," Canavan said.
"He's obviously a great player."
However, Canavan stressed the club was more than happy with its current group of players.
"They're very talented and very experienced," Canavan said.
"We're going through a process where we're developing a combination."
Canavan also emphasised the club had not signed Mundine's cousin Robbie Simpson.
That aside, Mundine's impending return also prompted speculation on Friday as to how long it would take the ex-St George Illawarra pivot to find his feet.
Former Test five-eighths Laurie Daley and Brett Kenny questioned on Friday how quickly Mundine would make an impact after a prolonged absence from the game.
"Next year he would make an impact," Daley said.
"This year I wouldn't say he can't, but it would be difficult for him. We'll have to wait and see."
Kenny said Mundine would have to be patient.
"He'd have to get his tackling technique right," Kenny said.
"That will take a few weeks, maybe longer. I don't think it will be as easy as he thinks. But I don't think it will take him long to get back into it."
Kenny said he would like to see Mundine play fullback if and when he returned.
"He'd have more room to move and you can be an individual there," Mundine said.