EXCLUSIVE: Warriors the dark horse for Keary

Josh Massoud

The Roosters have offered five-eighth Luke Keary a handsome three-year extension – and are confident of keeping him.

But 7th tackle understands the New Zealand Warriors have emerged as a threat for his signature, with the Kiwi club keen to partner Shaun Johnson with a more experienced playmaker after losing Kieran Foran to the Bulldogs.

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Off-contract at the end of 2018, Keary is currently a free agent and can talk to rival clubs. After a stellar first-up season at Bondi, the Roosters are deep in negotiations to extend his stay until the end of 2021.

But uncertainty surrounding the arrival of Cooper Cronk for the next two seasons has given other clubs a sniff at both current Roosters halves, Keary and Mitchell Pearce.

Could Keary be heading across the ditch? Image: Getty

Pearce’s unhappiness with the lack of warning or consultation about Cronk’s signature is well documented; as is the long line of suitors – Newcastle, Cronulla, Manly and Canberra - poised to pounce should he ask for a release.

But Keary’s situation is less clear. He has become close to Pearce over the past 12 months and would be disappointed to see the incumbent Blues No. 7 depart.

And should Pearce stay, he’d be left to fight to play alongside Cronk and face the real prospect of being pushed back to the bench.

If a release were granted, Pearce would leave immediately. 7th Tackle understands that’s not the case with Keary, with the Warriors looking at him for 2019 and beyond.

Pearce is unhappy at the Roosters. Image: Getty

One way or another, the Aucklanders are keeping a close eye on the fall-out at the Roosters from Cronk’s signing.

New Zealand has already offered veteran Manly playmaker Blake Green a three-year deal – but only on the condition that he gets an early release from the Sea Eagles to join them in 2018.

Green is ready to up-and-leave, but Manly won’t let him go without a satisfactory replacement. They are in the hunt for Pearce but don’t have the same money as other clubs, although back rower Curtis Sironen is a close friend.