Anasta says Storm to blame for Munster contract circus, Manly boss backs plan for game in US

Cameron Munster’s manager Braith Anasta believes the Storm have only got themselves to blame for the ongoing speculation around the star five-eighth by prioritising the re-signing of three other players ahead of him.

Munster, who is not off contract until the end of next year, recently knocked back an extension offer from Melbourne who finalised upgraded deals for teammates Harry Grant, Jahrome Hughes and Xavier Coates.

With speculation mounting that several clubs, including Newcastle, North Queensland, the Roosters and Gold Coast, are likely to be interested in Munster along with the Dolphins expansion side, Anasta denied on NRL 360 that he had been shopping his client around.

He said Munster’s form on the field was driving up his value and he did not need to put any feelers out to prospective clubs. Munster is understood to have rejected an offer from the Storm around $750,000 a year because other teams would stump up seven figures each season for his services.

“He’s not being shopped around. Have you watched him play the last seven weeks? You don’t need to go and chase [clubs],” Anasta said.

“We’ve got the Dolpins involved, which is a new club, a new franchise. The rules are the rules, whether it’s Cameron Munster or anyone for that matter in the competition you can talk to clubs you just can’t negotiate [a contract]. 

“Now the problem here is the Melbourne Storm wanted to re-sign the four players.

“They said they want to extend and upgrade the other three but extend and lower Cameron’s wage for the next couple of years so they’ve made that public and they’ve put that out there so we, knowing Cameron’s in the best state mentally and physically, knew he’d play really well this season, we said no.

“What that’s done is brought attention now more to Cameron’s performances on the field from clubs and it’s the Melbourne Storm who have actually put that attention on him.”

Munster tore the Sharks to shreds in a dominant performance to lead the Storm to a 34-18 victory on Saturday night. He will be one of the first players picked for Queensland in this year’s State of Origin series and is likely to be the Kangaroos’ five-eighth for Australia’s end-of-season World Cup campaign.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Manly boss throws weight behind US game

Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn wants next year’s proposed “round zero” game in the US to become an annual part of the NRL calendar.

The ARL Commission is considering a plan to stage a match in Los Angeles next year a week before the rest of Round 1 kicks off.

Manly and South Sydney, given their ties to Hollywood stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, are the likely teams to take part in the match if it goes ahead.

The historic fixture would be played a week before the rest of the first round so that the two teams would have sufficient time to return to Australia and acclimatise before their next match.

“There’s huge interest in NRL over here in the US. Rugby league continues to grow and expand over here,” Penn told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Anyone I show it to over here they think, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. They don’t wear pads and helmets’ – it’s really the last bastion of gladiatorial sports.”

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