Tigers to stand firm on Aloiai contract

·2-min read

Wests Tigers intend to stand firm on Josh Aloiai's contract after chairman Lee Hagipantelis accused him of trying to leave for more money at Manly.

Aloiai has one year left on his current Tigers deal and has been linked to the Sea Eagles as their long-term replacement for prop Addin Fonua-Blake.

Under the NRL's current contract rules, he is able to freely negotiate with rivals for 2022 given the November 1 deadline has passed.

But that does not allow him to join Manly or any other club early, unless he is granted permission by the Tigers.

"In my view he has a contract with the Wests Tigers which he will fulfil in 2021 unless I can leverage a commercial advantage for the club," Hagipantelis told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"The days of players, or others, thinking that they can use the Wests Tigers as a stepping stone are over."

If the Tigers were to release Aloiai they would likely want to pick up a reasonable replacement in return.

However, keeping him could put them in the difficult position of having a player at the club who seemingly no longer wants to be around.

Aloiai was the Tigers' most consistent forward this year, with the 25-year-old averaging 124 metres per game.

But according to the report, he has now told them he never wants to wear the jersey again.

The joint venture found themselves in a similar position last year when Aloiai's close friend Ryan Matterson requested a release to go to Parramatta.

It prompted debate around whether players should be able to earn more money at rivals once let go mid-contract by former clubs.

Hagipantelis suggested Aloiai had only recently approached the club looking for an extension.

"Now we have a situation where a form of release has been sought, with a view to taking up a contract elsewhere obviously for more money," he said.

"It is curious as to how that seems to generate welfare concerns."

The Tigers do at least have James Tamou and Stefano Utoikamanu arriving as forwards next year.

They also remain in the market for Josh Mansour, after winger Josh Addo-Carr opted to stay in Melbourne.