June 30 deadline: Why bother?

Eels fullback Brett Hodgson has been given permission to negotiate with rival clubs after his manager Darryl Mather approached the Eels with his client?s request. Hodgson?s manager has been in contact with the Wests Tigers who have $1 million to spend on recruitment this year and the Tigers are very interested in securing the services of Hodgson, a former Western Suburbs junior.

In what has beome commonplace for almost any NRL player coming off contract, most are seeking to test their worth on the open market well before the June 30 deadline.

Nigel Vagana is another who is pleading with the Bulldogs to test his worth on the open market and has been linked to the Sharks, who have over $700,000 to spend and are in desperate need of quality outside backs. Talks between Vagana and the Bulldogs broke down earlier this week when it was reveled Vagana?s demands were unreasonable.

Scott Hill is another player who is currently shopping around and while the rumours linking him to the Sharks refuse to go away, he is closer than ever to signing a deal that will keep him in Melbourne for the remainder of his career. A deal may be struck as early as today.

The other notable thing about contract negotiations is the increased length of time players are signing for. Just last week Brent Sherwin signed with the Bulldogs for five years in a deal that will see him finish out his career with the Bulldogs. It is the first time I can recall a player signing with one club for virtually half his career in one go.

Brisbane this week also re-signed Brad Meyers, Dane Carlaw and Corey Parker to extended deals.

Canberra are believed to be close to signing Mark Mclinden and Phil Graham to new deals that will keep both players at the club for the next three years.

Most of the clubs with money to spend are currently sitting at the wrong end of the table so a player must consider his options. Either stay with a good team for slightly less money and win premierships or sign with a struggling club for more money and hope they come good.