November 1 is one of the most commonly mentioned dates on the rugby league calendar, the day soon-to-be off-contract players can talk to other clubs about potential moves. 160 NRL players officially hit the open market today, including premiership winners, international stars and players named in the 2023 Dally M Team of the Year.
Free agents: Adam Reynolds, Ezra Mam, Billy Walters, Delouise Hoeter, Jordan Riki, Kurt Capewell, Martin Taupau, Brendan Piakura, Corey Oates.
All eyes will be on where Grand Final star Mam ends up, with the Broncos confident he will stay at the club. Reynolds is also reportedly set to sign a one-year extension but it is unlikely all three back-rowers, Capewell, Riki and Piakura will stay in Brisbane. Injury-riddled winger Oates is also yet to secure his future, although did reportedly indicate he is willing to take a pay cut to remain at the Broncos.
Free agents: Ata Mariota, Elliott Whitehead, Harley Smith-Shields, Jamal Fogarty, Josh Papalii, James Schiller, Jordan Rapana, Nick Cotric, Pasami Saulo, Peter Hola, Trey Mooney, Zac Woolford.
Papalii heads the list of stars off contract in the capital but he and the club have the mutual option to extend to 2025, and that is expected to happen. While Rapana and Whitehead face the question of whether they will continue their beyond the 2024 season.
Young hooker Woolford is expected to be retained, while where Cotric will play in 2025 is less clear. The former representative star failed to make the Raiders lineup for a large part of the year after falling out of favour with Ricky Stuart and may seek pastures new. Mariota burst onto the scene this year, featuring in 16 games as he announced himself as a star of the future, and is a player that you'd assume would be part of Ricky Stuart’s long-term plans.
Free agents: Hayze Perham, Jackson Topine, Liam Knight, Max King, Reece Hoffman, Toby Sexton.
The Bulldogs have none of their stars off contract, with their focus on continuing to build on their recent squad overhaul. Knight, Perham and Sexton are likely seen as priorities to retain. While Max King built a reputation as one of the Bulldogs hardest workers through the middle, and is a player Cameron Ciraldo would ideally like to keep.
Free agents: Braden Hamlin-Uele, Connor Tracey, Jack Williams, Matt Moylan, Mawene Hiroti, Oregon Kaufusi, Toby Rudolf.
The Sharks could face a challenge to hold onto Tracey due to his limited chances at fullback with Will Kennedy returning and clubs such as the Dragons circling. Tracey had already asked Cronulla for an immediate release, which was rejected, but it looks likely that he will be playing his football somewhere else come 2025.
Hamlin-Uele and Rudolf are likely seen as priority re-signings, as is fellow front-rower Tom Hazelton, who was one of their best in 2023. Moylan looks unlikely to stay with a move to the Super League touted for a player who was formerly one of the most highly sought-after assets in the NRL.
Free agents: Anthony Milford, Edrick Lee, Euan Aitken, Jarrod Wallace, Jesse Bromwich, Kodi Nikorima, Mark Nicholls, Tesi Niu, Valynce Te Whare.
Nikorima must be seen as an absolute priority as his utility value was clear in 2023. Wallace also enjoyed one of his best years and it would be a shock to see him not re-sign. Lee, Aitkin and Te Whare's futures, however, are not so clear, with the trio likely needing to prove themselves at the start of 2024 to warrant being retained. Recruits Herbie Farnworth and Jake Averillo will also provide added competition for spots in the season ahead.
Free agents: Isaac Liu, Joe Stimson, Kieran Foran, Klese Haas, Tom Weaver, Treymain Spry.
Veteran half Foran will reunite with old coach Des Hasler next year and that could see him retained. While Weaver, who made his NRL debut this year, will push Tanah Boyd for the No.7 spot. Whether he secures the halfback spot or not will likely result in whether or not he is handed a contract at the Titans beyond 2024. While Haas, the brother of Payne, will be worth holding on to if he becomes even half the player his older brother is.
Free agents: Ben Trbojevic, Christian Tuipulotu, Corey Waddell, Karl Lawton, Ray Tuaimalo Vega, Zac Fulton.
The Sea Eagles are reasonably stable with most of their salary cap tied up in their top-end players. It would be a surprise to see Trbojevic play for another NRL club but away from him none of the players on the open market would be seen as huge losses to the Sea Eagles.
Free agents: Nick Meaney, Reimis Smith, Marion Seve, Aaron Pene.
Meaney was one of the Storm’s best and most important players this year in Ryan Papenhuyzen's absence, and he will likely secure a new deal on the back of that. Smith and Seve, however, failed to make much of an impact and could be let go as Melbourne seek more punch on the edge.
Free agents: Bradman Best, Dane Gagai, Enari Tuala, Jacob Saifiti, Mathew Croker, Simi Sasagi, Tyson Gamble.
Best and Saifiti are the standouts on the list, with clubs already circling one of the best young centres and arguably the best forward on the market. Gamble will also have new competition in Jack Cogger this year and if he can keep the No.7 from the Knights junior, he will likely be handed a new contract.
Free agents: Tom Dearden, Chad Townsend, Tom Chester, Semi Valemei, Kyle Feldt, Jake Granville, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Heilum Luki, Sam McIntyre, Coen Hess.
Dearden is seen as the future of the Cowboys, with the club already tabling a $2 million three-year extension, but he is yet to sign on the dotted line. Veterans Hess and Townsend may seek pastures new in 2025 if they are to play on. Luki, 22, has already represented Samoa and will be seen as a must-keep for the club.
Free agents: Bailey Simonsson, Daejarn Asi, Jirah Momoisea, Makahesi Makatoa, Morgan Harper.
The Eels have no stars off contract and the only one on the list they would probably be eager to keep is Samoan halfback Daejarn Asi, who offers strong backup to Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown.
Free agents: Daine Laurie, Jarome Luai, Luke Garner, Matt Eisenhuth, Mitch Kenny, Paul Alamoti, Sunia Turuva, Taylan May, Tyrone Peachey, Zac Hosking.
The defending premiers are facing an impossible task to keep their team together. Luai has admitted he faces a decision between money and more success, with the Panthers only able to offer him $850,000 a year and rivals can offer upwards of $1million.
Turuva and May are also off contract and are two players Penrith would be keen to keep. Fijian flyer Turuva was crowned the 2023 Dally M Rookie of the Year and would not be short of suitors if he is to move away from the foot of the mountain.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA
Free agents: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Cody Ramsey, Francis Molo, Jack de Belin, Jaiyden Hunt, Jaydn Su'A, Mat Feagai, Max Feagai, Michael Molo, Moses Suli, Paul Turner, Talatau Amone, Tyrell Sloan.
The Dragons have the most players coming off contract and this affords incoming coach Shane Flanagan a chance to overhaul the struggling side. Hunt will be a priority to keep. Sloan appears likely to stay after the unsettled fullback saw Flanagan declare he has faith in him. Su'A has been linked with a move away and he and both he and De Belin would likely have to take a pay cut to stay at the club.
Free agents: Ben Lovett, Dean Hawkins, Isaiah Tass, Izaac Thompson, Michael Chee Kam, Peter Mamouzelos, Shaquai Mitchell, Taane Milne, Tom Burgess.
Burgess is the biggest off-contract name at the Rabbitohs and while he is unlikely to go to an NRL rival, a move to the Super League may be on the cards. Tass has been a regular in the centres since making his NRL debut in Round 6 but with Wighton coming in, if he is to be deployed in the centres instead of in the halves, Taas may seek regular playing time elsewhere.
Free agents: Angus Crichton, Brandon Smith, Daniel Tupou, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Joseph Manu, Luke Keary, Nat Butcher, Sitili Tupouniua, Terrell May.
The Roosters have plenty of talent coming off contract but Suaali leaving does free up some cash space. It would be a shock to see Manu not tied down and Roosters coach Trent Robinson has declared “he’ll be here”. Tupou and Waerea-Hargreaves may hang up the boots as may Keary, but if he was to play on elsewhere he would attract lucrative offers. Smith’s Roosters career started slow but he has since hit his straps and would be seen as a priority to keep.
Free agents: Rocco Berry, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Jazz Tevaga, Luke Metcalf, Freddy Lussick, Shaun Johnson, Tohu Harris, Taine Tuaupiki, Jackson Ford.
Watene-Zelezniak had a career-best season in 2023 and is a player that I cannot see leaving. Metcalf is set to attract plenty of interest on the open market but is expected to stay. Harris was one of the best forwards in 2023 and it would be a shock to see him leave.
Free agents: Adam Doueihi, Aidan Sezer, Asu Kepaoa, Jake Simpkin, Junior Tupou, Shawn Blore, Sione Fainu, Stefano Utoikamanu, Triston Reilly.
Doueihi's Tigers career will likely be impacted by how he comes back from a third ACL rupture and it will also be dependent on if the club can snare a half like Luai. Utoikamanu made his Blues debut this year and is seen as a priority to keep, with the club currently negotiating a new contract with the young prop.
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