The team has been proactive in expanding its squad for the upcoming season, bringing on Luke Brooks, Tommy Talau, and Jaxson Paulo, while also extending contracts of players like Josh Schuster, Tolutau Koula, Taniela Paseka, Kaeo Weekes, Christian Tuipulotu, Jamie Humphreys, and Raymond Vaega.
Ethan Bullemor and Brad Parker are also likely candidates for having their contracts extended. However, the team’s recruitment and retention activity has spawned speculation about their salary cap situation for the next year being stringent, possibly necessitating player departures.
The Sea Eagles will recover $700,000 next year due to the departures of Samuela and Latu Fainu to the Tigers and a new contract for Daly Cherry-Evans, which is worth less than his existing $1.2 million agreement.
Mestrov debunks suspicions about the team’s salary cap being at risk. “We’re comfortably within the cap for next year,” Mestrov asserted, adding that, contrary to the rumours, the team’s cap management was solid.
The Sea Eagles team is almost fully booked for the next season after recent additions. However, Mestrov confirmed that no player had been told they will be shown the exit door.
Speaking on departing players, including the Fainu’s, Mestrov said the team used the freed-up capital to retain and improve existing players and acquire Luke Brooks. He affirmatively stated that the team had no plans to offload players due to salary cap pressure, but rather to bolster the team further.
Aaron Woods, Morgan Boyle, Morgan Harper, are some of the players whose futures appear uncertain, as their contracts are approaching expiry. Matt Lodge, after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, stands in a similar situation.
Lodge, 28, is set to stay with the Sea Eagles next year, possibly working on a developmental or training agreement, with the potential to negotiate a top 30 deal later.
“We want what’s best for Matt and the club,” said Mestrov, appreciating Lodge’s potential and the benefits he might bring to the club and squad.