Lee Hagipentalis, president of the Wests Tigers, will ask the NRL to create rules for breach of contract by players, to make money at opposing clubs after Josh Aloiai impressed the joint venture with a request for release and a rigorous assessment.
Aloys manager Tyran Smith has called for his immediate release after it was understood Manly had submitted a two-year deal, which Tiger believes is a much bigger gain than the recently offered extension.
The news shocked Tigers officials in their commitment to revolutionize the voice of Aloia Michael Maguire and the club in recent years.
When negotiations over the two-year Tigers extension stalled, Aloyoi’s intentions were made clear in a text written to a senior Tigers official: “I have no desire to replace the Wests Tigers organization or put the Wests Tigers jersey back on.”
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Personally, the Tigers believe the request to release the Aloys has a two-year contract with the Sea Eagles for 2022-23 as a condition of joining the club next season.
CEO Manly of Stephen Humphreys has denied any wrongdoing.
NRL.com understands, however, that the club has a salary cap to accommodate Aloiai if he leaves Concord early.
“We have a lot of respect for Josh, he’s a fine player and a leader, but he has a contract for 2021,” Humphrey told NRL.com.
“We are interested in attracting our club, but all of our discussions have been going on since 2022. 2021 has not been mentioned in our interviews.”
When that happens I think it leaves a sour taste in the mouths of all our club fans and members
Lee Hagipentalis Wests President of the Tigers
This is a continuation of the second season leading up to the contract dispute between the Tigers, after Aloiai’s last friend Ryan Matterson promised freedom of entry to Parramatta 12 months ago.
Matterson is understood to have achieved a six-figure salary increase when it comes to switching corners, which also raises issues with Maguire’s tough coaching style.
Like David Klemmer (from Canterbury to Newcastle) and Blake Green (Manly to the Warriors) are others who have been looking for notes to make more money elsewhere in recent seasons.
By the same token, clubs often buy players with competitors before hiring them, as the Tigers have been trying to unload big winners Josh Reynolds and Russell Packer in recent years.
Matterson’s outburst at Concord last year has raised suggestions for changes to the contract rules outside of this season.
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Hagipentalis plans to meet with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo next week to demand a reform that prevents contract players from offering more money than they currently earn.
“My personal opinion is that if he is fired for any reason, the player doesn’t want to get a trade advantage elsewhere,” Hagipentalis told NRL.com.
“If you win X in Club A, you should only win XB to go to Club B.
“I think it leaves a sour taste in the mouths of all our club fans and members when that happens.
“If there are legitimate reasons for compassion they should be treated that way, with the respect and discretion they deserve.
“But if a player earns more money by getting that release, it concludes that compassionate reasons are used to leave the contract to gain a commercial advantage.
“That shouldn’t be allowed.”
Aloyoi has played 90 games for the Wests Tigers since his debut in 2016, rose to the national team in Samoa in recent years and started in 18 games he played in the short 2020 season.
The Tigers have Panthers veteran James Tamou and the highly valued Eels are hiring Stefano Utoikamanu in 2021 to join them.
They also include bands like Zane Musgrove, Alex Twal, Thomas Mikaele and Packer.
Hagipentalis have said the Tigers will not release Aloiai unless the club has a chance to gain an advantage.
“If there’s no very good reason to give a release, that’s a very important commercial advantage for the Wests Tigers, it’s not going to give a release,” he said.
“If you read between the lines, it’s a trade dispute between a hired player and their club because there’s a chance they’ll make more money elsewhere. We don’t swallow it.”