Taking one for the team: Keary set to take less to stay with Roosters

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By Michael Chammas
July 27, 2020 — 12.01am
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While David Fifita may not have been willing to stay at Brisbane for less, Luke Keary is on the verge of announcing a three-year extension with the Sydney Roosters for a pay packet well below what he would demand on the open market.

Keary, who isn’t off contract until the end of next year, is finalising a three-year extension with the back-to-back reigning champions worth around $2.8 million, averaging out at just over $930,000 per season, until 2024. The retention of fullback James Tedesco is also expected to follow for the Roosters in the coming months, locking in the duo they will build the club around.

https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.3%2C$multiply_1.5109%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_111/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/053016595454e99e66e10c03e4a930b47163a725 2x" media="(min-width: 1024px)" />https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.3%2C$multiply_1.3749%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_111/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/053016595454e99e66e10c03e4a930b47163a725 2x" media="(min-width: 768px)" />053016595454e99e66e10c03e4a930b47163a725https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.3%2C$multiply_0.7082%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_111/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/053016595454e99e66e10c03e4a930b47163a725 2x" alt="Luke Keary and James Tedesco, celebrating the 2019 NRL premiership, are the two players the Roosters have chosen to build their club around." />

Luke Keary and James Tedesco, celebrating the 2019 NRL premiership, are the two players the Roosters have chosen to build their club around.CREDIT:NRL PHOTOS

While Keary will receive a pay rise of more than $200,000 per season, there’s little doubt he would have become the game’s latest million-dollar player if he went elsewhere. He was also being touted as a potential face of the Brisbane expansion team to enter the competition in 2022 or 2023.

Few would argue that he is the best playmaker in the NRL already, but his new deal won’t reflect that, proving some players are willing to stay for less to be part of special teams and play football in September.

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Kieran Foran, Ash Taylor, Ben Hunt, Daly Cherry-Evans, Nathan Cleary, Michael Morgan, Anthony Milford and Mitchell Pearceare currently getting paid more than Keary will receive in his new deal.

If the Gold Coast Titans are willing to splash the cash and fork out $1.2m for Fifita, Keary could well demand similar figures given he has represented his country and won three NRL premierships during his career. He was also voted the best five-eighth in the NRL by his peers in the recent 2020 Players’ Poll.

https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.552%2C$multiply_1.5109%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/548efeeb670ef958d1acb3bde43de1f1dd670796 2x" media="(min-width: 1024px)" />https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.552%2C$multiply_1.3749%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/548efeeb670ef958d1acb3bde43de1f1dd670796 2x" media="(min-width: 768px)" />548efeeb670ef958d1acb3bde43de1f1dd670796https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.552%2C$multiply_0.7082%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/548efeeb670ef958d1acb3bde43de1f1dd670796 2x" alt="Luke Keary is best No.6 in the game, according to the 150 who voted in the NRL Players' Poll earlier this month." />

Luke Keary is best No.6 in the game, according to the 150 who voted in the NRL Players' Poll earlier this month.CREDIT:NRL

Injuries have denied Keary the chance to play State of Origin, but the 2018 Clive Churchill Medal winner is expected to make his NSW debut in the No.6 jersey at the end of the year.

The 28-year-old, who helped set up the match-winning try in last season’s grand final against the Canberra Raiders, is entering the prime of his career having turned 28 at the start of the year and has taken his game to another level following the retirement of Cooper Cronk.

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Unlike some players, Keary has recognised that if he demanded more than $1m to stay, it would cost the team elsewhere.

Such a payday could mean the Morris brothers wouldn’t be able to stay on for another season, or Tedesco wouldn’t be able to receive the type of money that reflects his new status as the best player in the game.

The Roosters, led by coach Trent Robinson and club supremo Nick Politis, have also recognised the importance of not paying overs. They offered Latrell Mitchell $800,000 last year, however he wanted more.

The Roosters wouldn’t budge, offering what they believed he was worth to their team, not what he could attract elsewhere.

Mitchell’s defection has opened the door for the tricolours to lure Sonny Bill Williams back to the NRL, with the dual international set to hop on a plane in the coming days bound for a Sydney hotel room for a fortnight of quarantine before rejoining his old club.

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Foran's fine print

As reported by the Herald a couple of weeks ago, Canterbury have offered Kieran Foran a one-year contract worth between $300,000-$400,000. Foran wants to stay and incoming coach Trent Barrett also wants him to remain.

The sticking point regards concerns over his durability. The Bulldogs have offered him a base salary closer to $300,000 with the remaining value to be paid if he plays a certain amount of games.

https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.453%2C$multiply_1.5109%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_41/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/0125bfe6df9496bd06822db14500ce42169e63c7 2x" media="(min-width: 1024px)" />https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.453%2C$multiply_1.3749%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_41/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/0125bfe6df9496bd06822db14500ce42169e63c7 2x" media="(min-width: 768px)" />0125bfe6df9496bd06822db14500ce42169e63c7https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.453%2C$multiply_0.7082%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_41/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/0125bfe6df9496bd06822db14500ce42169e63c7 2x" alt="Kieran Foran has had his fair share of injury concerns since joining the Bulldogs in 2018." />

Kieran Foran has had his fair share of injury concerns since joining the Bulldogs in 2018.CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES

The Bulldogs have paid him more than a $1m a season for the past three years but he’s played half of those games.

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Foran isn’t disputing that his value has dropped significantly, but he doesn’t want his deal to be based around terms relating to the number of games he plays. The Bulldogs have been supportive of Foran through his injuries but are just trying to protect themselves in fear of the worst.

Attitude matters

NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has made no secret of the significance he places on character and integrity when selecting his teams.

Before last week’s game, we contacted Fittler to see if Eels forward Ryan Matterson was still in his plans given the way he exited the Wests Tigers. ‘‘Since the exodus he has shown nothing but a great attitude and his football is proof,’’ Fittler said. ‘‘Can’t wait to see how he handles this week.’’

https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.53%2C$multiply_1.5109%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_146/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/0e5f8caf5515314217634cc7ef7ce5a0eb75fcf0 2x" media="(min-width: 1024px)" />https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.53%2C$multiply_1.3749%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_146/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/0e5f8caf5515314217634cc7ef7ce5a0eb75fcf0 2x" media="(min-width: 768px)" />0e5f8caf5515314217634cc7ef7ce5a0eb75fcf0https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.53%2C$multiply_0.7082%2C$ratio_1.776846%2C$width_1059%2C$x_0%2C$y_146/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/0e5f8caf5515314217634cc7ef7ce5a0eb75fcf0 2x" alt="Ryan Matterson is helped off the field after a first-half concussion against the Tigers on Thursday night." />

Ryan Matterson is helped off the field after a first-half concussion against the Tigers on Thursday night.CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES

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While Fittler didn’t get much of a chance to see him in action after a heavy concussion ended his night early, it’s safe to say he remains part of the coach’s plans leading into the end-of-season State of Origin series.

Anthem for change

This week isn’t the right time given the planned Indigenous round celebrations, but bubbling along in the background is the debate around the national anthem.

It speaks to the power of the voices of Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Cody Walkerthat the NRL is now considering scrapping the singing of Advance Australia Fair before this year’s Origin series after the trio’s stance last year.

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  • You know what it's just how it is he is still making amazing money and playing regular finals and grand finals why would you go anywhere else when you can stay at the roosters, make a million a year and probably win a couple more grandfinals 

  • He would need to go to a struggling club to earn that type of money, and in any event he is being topped up with TPAs. I love how the media report that these players are doing their club a favour by accepting less! I doubt anyone actually believes it any more.

  • Rules must've changed since the eels wanted to take one for the team to keep the amazing Kevin Kingston.

    • This is different macy, he is going to take less on an extension than he could make somewhere else,  he is not taking a pay cut on an existing contract which the eels offered to do to keep Kingston.  Pls its still $200k per year more than his current contract. 

      • So it's more like when they placed a minimum value when we wanted to Folau - hang on, nope they've breached that precedent here too...

         

      • Thanks HKF. Silly me for reading the tainted propaganda headlines and believing it.

        Keary’s contract doesn’t expire till the end of next year and somehow this is taking one for the roosters team.

        assume that us taking a cut to keep Kingston for upcoming year, would also have meant those taking a cut would have to had new terms drafted but oh well...

        loved kingston he was a game changer for us and maybe I just didn’t get over it or maybe we just didn’t have enough clout and good pr machine as clearly this bloke that wrote this story has empathy for the SBW signing  :(

  • How is this helping SBW join the Roosters. Keary's new deal doesn't come into effect until 2022, SBW is coming this year.

    • Yep it's a bullshit story Dr Wong, and no doubt the title has been framed as click bait. My understanding, and I'm happy to be corrected if wrong, is that SBW would only be signed on a short term deal for this season, and as you rightly point out, Keary is already signed for this year and next...

    • Exactly, this has nothing to do SBW contract this year unless he is playing on after this year. 

      Another thing i thought that clubs had to spend a certain percentage of the salary cap every year and since the guy leaving is more then likely on miniumum wage.

      How can they be under the minimum percentage of the salary cap enough sign SBW if there only letting a minimum wage player go? 

       

      • Also, in the interests of fairness and respect for an even salary cap, shouldn't whatever he is earning be adjusted to equal a whole season's salary and then that amount be included in the salary cap.

        For example, if he's playing 25% of a season whatever they are paying him for that period (lets say $250,000) should be multiplied by 4 ($1,000,000) and that amount should be deducted from the cap. Every other player at every club is paid for a full year and that's what comes from the cap. If they don't do this the Roosters are in effect being given the ability to field a team that would clearly breach the cap in normal circumstances for a period of the season including the all important finals series. 

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