Melbourne chief executive Justin Rodski says the club will not be granting Cameron Munster an early release as the star five-eighth’s management gauges a potential NRL move to the Dolphins.
Munster’s manager, Braith Anasta, has also used his platform as a Fox Sports host to talk up the player’s value to the Storm while indicating he intends to meet with the Dolphins.
“His manager shouldn’t be talking about moving when the player is contracted for the next two years, that’s a non-negotiable in my mind,” Rodski said.
Munster is being courted by the Redcliffe-based franchise who will enter the competition at the start of the 2023 season.
In an indication of how convoluted the NRL’s oft-criticised contract system is, Munster can speak to the Dolphins about his future despite having more than 18 months left to run on his contract with the Storm.
NRL rules stipulate players can talk to rival clubs throughout their existing contracts but cannot receive offers until their deal enters its last 12 months.
As one of the game’s elite stars – and given his heroics for Queensland in State of Origin – the 27-year-old is seen as the perfect foundation player for the NRL’s newest team.
But Rodski gave short shrift to the idea of letting Munster leave before his contract expires at the end of the 2023 season.
“We understand the interest in Cameron’s future … a player and his manager shouldn’t be talking about moving when the player is contracted for the next two years, that’s a non-negotiable in my mind,” Rodski told AAP.
“Cameron’s a contracted player and a required player for the 2023 season. He’s playing some really good footy and contributing really well to the team.
“The Melbourne Storm haven’t provided permission for Cameron Munster’s management to talk to other clubs about an early release.
“We’re not getting caught up in what’s been said or hasn’t been said.
“We’re just focused on this year and next year and what happens after that? Well, we’ll wait and see.”
The Storm’s stocks have already taken a hit since the arrival of Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins with Test players Kenny Bromwich, Jesse Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi all joining the club.
Rodski suggested that clubs who, like the Storm, have invested heavily in developing players should be rewarded and given salary cap dispensations to retain their talent.
“I think that there should be some form of veteran allowance within the salary cap to ensure that players, as they’re getting into the twilight of their career, can continue to play and make a contribution,” he said.
“When you don’t have a draft, the clubs are investing millions and millions of dollars into the development of players within their academies.
“(The existing NRL contracting system) creates that frustration that I think the NRL is experiencing right now.
“I think there should be a review into how we can create a system that allows for clubs to have some sort of protection and salary cap relief as a reward for developing talent to be first grade players in the NRL.”