Memo to Moses: NRL contracts must be honoured

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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76 Have your say

    Ivan Cleary made the right decision to select Parramatta-bound Mitchell Moses in the Wests Tigers side to meet the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

    It has nothing to do with the serious money on offer, or loyalty to the club that gave him the NRL start.

    It’s the contract.

    What’s the point of signing a contract that can be broken at the first hurdle?

    Moses is contracted to the Tigers until the end of this season, and that’s where he must play, and not seek an early release to become an Eel.

    Ben Hunt will see out his contract this season with the Broncos, before he becomes a Dragon in 2018. Jack Bird likewise with the Sharks before he becomes a Bronco.

    There’s been no argument, nor discussion, by either player to leave early.

    But there’s more to the Tigers-Dogs game on Sunday than just Mitchell Moses. And when it comes to contracts, there are some more fascinating decisions to be made.

    Will Cooper Cronk retire from the Storm to become a media guru out of Sydney, or will he delay those possibilities – which loom large – to play with either the Dogs or Tigers for a seven-figure-sum annual contract?

    Rival skippers Aaron Woods and James Graham go head-to-head on Sunday in the Tigers-Dogs game, where they could well be playing for a direct switch.

    James Tedesco will also be on duty in that game – will he remain a Tiger, or become a Rooster next season?

    Unwanted Dog Josh Reynolds is another playing for his future, which is the most absurd decision of the lot. Nobody at Belmore could seriously think of axing this dyed-in-the-wool Bulldog. If there is someone, he or she has rocks in their head.

    ‘The Grub’ should be at Canterbuty for life, it’s as simple as that.

    Josh Reynolds is placed on report

    And that leaves Jarryd Hayne and Kieran Foran’s future yet to be decided – both are off contract at season’s end.

    Hayne is a superstar, but not at the Titans. Think of him in the Parramatta backline with Corey Norman, Mitchell Moses, Semi Radradra, and Michael Jennings.

    Now that would be something very special.

    The loose cannon is Foran, who on his day is as good as anyone in the NRL. But there are far too many days between the dizzy heights.

    His time at Manly was later scrutinised and then he left Parramatta under a cloud, with his career revived by the Warriors this season when no other club was interested.

    Even before he had pulled on a Warriors jersey, he was linked with the Broncos and Bulldogs for next season. And when Cronk dropped the hand grenade he was leaving the Storm, Foran was linked there as a replacement.

    What Foran has to do for the rest of the season is show loyalty to the Warriors for saving his career, and only then decide where he’ll play in 2018, with the Auckland-based club first cab off the rank.

    In the meantime, this NRL season is looming as one of the best, with so many teams on a level playing field. And that’s the way it should be.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (76)

    • April 19th 2017 @ 5:49am
      AJL. said | April 19th 2017 @ 5:49am | ! Report

      Fact check: Radradra won’t be at Parra next year.
      Agree with your broad point though. The Tigers are well within their rights to refuse to release Moses, or at least to negotiate decent compensation from Parra for the release.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 6:51am
        qwetzen said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

        “Fact check: Radradra won’t be at Parra next year.”

        It’s a Roar tradition: Any article by Mr Lord must contain at least one error.

      • Columnist

        April 19th 2017 @ 9:02am
        David Lord said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Fact check – quite true AJL , but Semi will only be in France for a year, so he’ll play at least two seasons with Mitchell Moses.

        • Roar Guru

          April 19th 2017 @ 9:27am
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          I thought it was widely reported as going for 2 years? If he makes a decent fist out of it we won’t see him back. There is no way he makes anything close to $750k as a winger in the NRL. For good reason too.

    • April 19th 2017 @ 6:22am
      Gonzo said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:22am | ! Report

      If there’s an instrument that allows players to be released early why shouldn’t they take advantage of it? Now unless the NRL does something to change those rules then its entirely up to the players to seek what’s best for them regardless of what their contract stipulates.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 6:43am
        Boz said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

        And the clubs have the right to refuse a release.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 6:46am
          mushi said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:46am | ! Report

          But it’s hardly failing to honour a contract by asking for one.

          Unless there is a clause in there that says you’re never allowed to even approach the other party to vary the terms (which I doubt).

          • April 19th 2017 @ 9:53am
            Boz said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

            Of course not. What will be interesting is how a player handles a situation when a club refuses a release.

            • Roar Guru

              April 19th 2017 @ 10:12am
              Emcie said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

              Wouldn’t be the first time, Milford was refused a release from canberra and I’m sure there are plenty of other examples

        • April 19th 2017 @ 12:23pm
          Gray-Hand said | April 19th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

          After the Farrah debacle, the Tigers are the last club that could moan about a player wanting to end a contract early. It would be breathtaking hypocrisy.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 12:30pm
          Jacko said | April 19th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          Boz did Taylor have a right to refuse his “release”/

          • April 19th 2017 @ 12:38pm
            Gray-Hand said | April 19th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            The Tigers are still paying Taylor.

            • April 19th 2017 @ 5:18pm
              Jacko said | April 19th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

              No they are not. He was paid out

              • April 19th 2017 @ 5:29pm
                Gray-Hand said | April 19th 2017 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

                Either way, they fulfilled their obligations under the contract.

    • Roar Guru

      April 19th 2017 @ 6:34am
      The Barry said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:34am | ! Report

      I don’t think there’s any need to get hot under the collar about this.

      Moses has signed for the Eels next year. He’s requested an early release, which can be negotiated if both parties agree. Tigers have said no (so far). Moses has played for the Tigers.

      No one has done anything wrong.

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2017 @ 6:52am
        Magnus M. Østergaard said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:52am | ! Report

        The only way this turns sour is if Moses decides to remove all effort from his play, he disobeys the coaches instructions, they drop him in lower grades permanantly or they keep naming him as 18th or 19th man and therefore never gets to play a game. At the moment its all well and fine and if Moses loves the Tigers as much as Uncle Ben says he does im sure he will keep playing to the best of his ability and I doubt the Tigers will decide to screw with another local junior.

        • Columnist

          April 19th 2017 @ 9:06am
          David Lord said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          There’s no way Mitchell Moses will do the wrong thing by the Tigers, the 22-year-old of a real pro in every sense of the word, and he’ll prove that for the rest of the season.

          • Roar Guru

            April 19th 2017 @ 10:30am
            Magnus M. Østergaard said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

            To be clear, Im not exactly suggesting he would, just commenting that that would likely be the only way this situation changes.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 19th 2017 @ 7:44am
        Don said | April 19th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

        I think Moses has acted pretty well and professionally through all this.

        He has secured his future. His future employer would like him to start early.
        If all parties can negotiate a suitable trade or compensation then all is good.

        On the other stuff like comparing Moses’ situation with Hunt or Bird…. Well for a start, neither St George nor the Broncos have salary cap space to accommodate either signing in the current season. So there isn’t some kind of loyalty or stricter adherence to contracts. Just economics.
        I’d bet if Jack Bird was a Dragon or had the Broncos signed Widdop, Ben Hunt would be on his way to Kogorah now and the other player heading to Brisbane.

        And lots of clubs were still interested in Foran. No one was able to sign him because of his issues and mandatory time away from the game imposed, and the NRL hoops that had to be jumped through.

        But none of the above suits David’s narrative.,.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 10:31am
        andrew said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report


        He hasn’t broken a contract, he asked for a release, it wasn’t granted. Simple as that.
        Players ask for releases when they want to retire before the end of a contract. Clubs agree because it is in everyone’s best interest and everyone moves on.

        Whether it is work contracts, supplier deals or property rental, there is no problem with negotiating the early end to a contract (which is very different from breaking a contract) and that is a practice which is not uncommon many forms of business.

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2017 @ 12:22pm
        Kaks said | April 19th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        And not only has Moses played for the Tigers, he has probably been their best player since the news broke. Quite professional of him if you ask me.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 19th 2017 @ 6:35am
      Dave_S said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:35am | ! Report

      Contracts are renegotiated all the time. Nothing legally or morally wrong in seeking an early release. Of course, no excuses for not fulfilling your duties to the best of your ability in the meantime.

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2017 @ 7:42am
        sheek said | April 19th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        I find it absolutely ridiculous that a player can start the year with one team & finish it with another. You play with the one team for every year you play.

        You change at the end of the season, not mid-season.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 8:46am
          Christo the Daddyo said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          Meanwhile, back in the real world…

        • Roar Rookie

          April 19th 2017 @ 11:10am
          Dave_S said | April 19th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          sheek I’d prefer it didn’t happen, too. But if all parties consent then what’s the harm? If I had alternatives to cover the leaving player I’d rather see the back of him.

    • Roar Guru

      April 19th 2017 @ 7:41am
      sheek said | April 19th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report


      Like you I have old-fashioned values. A contract is a contract.

      If you’re worried about five years being too far away, then only sign for three, or two years.

      But once you sign a contract, you’re bound to honour it.

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2017 @ 8:40am
        eagleJack said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        Do you apply the same moral stance on the clubs that regularly tell players to look elsewhere, despite having years to run on their contracts?

        This happens far more often. Yet we don’t see faux outrage articles on the topic.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 9:45am
          Jacko said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

          Eagle you believe a coaches contract ( Cleary’s walkout on Warriors ) is different to a players contract so perhaps you should apply the same moral compass to all contracts, not just players contracts.

          • Roar Guru

            April 19th 2017 @ 10:57am
            eagleJack said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

            Jacko, where have I stated that? You jumped to conclusions on my post about Cleary because I rebutted your outlandish statement that Cleary’s past is what is influencing the Tigers current predicament. When the guy only just arrived at the club and this saga has been going on for a long time now.

            For what it is worth I’m of the belief that if both parties are happy to part ways, then so be it.

            That’s what a contract is for. To protect one party if the other wishes to move on or be moved on. But if both can come to an agreement then I see no reason why a contract can’t be broken or the respective terms varied, if both parties are content.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 19th 2017 @ 11:07am
            Don said | April 19th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

            Cleary didn’t “walk out” on the Warriors.
            He negotiated a release too. Albeit at short notice.

            That said, in the instance of coaches, CEOs etc advising they want to exit a contract early, you are best advised to come to an agreement.
            They hold too much information and influence.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 8:47am
        Christo the Daddyo said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Hilarious that the club that has axed their last three coaches before their contracts had ended would even contemplate saying no to Moses’ request.

        • Roar Guru

          April 19th 2017 @ 8:51am
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

          I don’t know why they wouldn’t? He’s a better option in the halves than Littlejohn and the next step down is even worse.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 5:20pm
          Jeffrey Dun said | April 19th 2017 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

          The Tigers did not ‘axe’ Potter. Potter completed his contract, which was not renewed.

          What I find hilarious is the way people cherry pick dates to make the Tigers appear as if they are continually axing coaches.

          Tim Sheens commenced coaching the WT in 2003. This means that In the past 15 years (including the current season), the WT have axed 2 coaches, which I suggest would compare favourably with most clubs.

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Magnus M. Østergaard said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Sheek, what do you think about the Dale Copley situation? He wasn’t going to play for the Roosters, Titans had an injury crisis and needed wingers and centres. Should he not be allowed to move? Its make perfect sense for this to happen and be allowed to happen. Daniel Anderson explains it fine on the NRL website:

        I ask you Sheek should we return back to the old days of semi-professional players as well? 3 point tries? No sinbins at all. Or further back to 2 point field goals, no substitutions and 4 tackle sets?

        • April 19th 2017 @ 9:48am
          Jacko said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          And what about returning to the $200 match fee? thats the old fashioned way isnt it?

        • April 19th 2017 @ 1:53pm
          spruce moose said | April 19th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          This is where the NRL should start thinking about having a loan system, similar to football.

          Copley may not be in the Roosters plans for 2017, but perhaps in 2018 he might be of value. So, the Roosters could loan Copley to the Titans for the season.

          • Roar Guru

            April 19th 2017 @ 1:57pm
            Emcie said | April 19th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

            Seems like it could get messy trying to integrate with the salary cap though…

            • Roar Guru

              April 19th 2017 @ 2:27pm
              Magnus M. Østergaard said | April 19th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              Shouldn’t make too much difference.

              • Roar Guru

                April 19th 2017 @ 2:32pm
                Emcie said | April 19th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                To be clear, i like the idea, i just have concerns about the nrls ability to implement good ideas

              • Roar Rookie

                April 19th 2017 @ 3:06pm
                Dave_S said | April 19th 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report


                practice makes perfect I guess

              • Roar Guru

                April 19th 2017 @ 3:23pm
                Magnus M. Østergaard said | April 19th 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

                There is one area where you can’t really criticise the NRL admin about and thats upholding the integrity of the salary cap. I think they’ve been very good.

    • April 19th 2017 @ 8:10am
      Swanny said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      Jared Hayne jumping contract ring a bell, amongst many others . Maybe parramatta deserve some good luck now

      NRL hasn’t worried abt contracts for a long time

      It’s goes back to the 80s era when arthuson from manly decimated the great west magpies

      Transfer fees work in soccer and could be the option for players jumping ship mid season

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