Manly officials will sit down with Will Hopoate and his management next week as they step up attempts to ensure the NSW star returns to the club when he completes his two-year mission with the Mormon church.
Hopoate : Man on a mission
Hopoate, who returned from a hamstring injury last weekend, has attracted interest from rival clubs, but his preference is to strike an agreement with Manly.
That could happen as early as next week, although Sea Eagles chief executive Dave Perry stressed work needed to be done.
Hopoate could leave the NRL as rookie of the year, with that race a four-way contest between Hopoate, teammate Daly Cherry-Evans, Melbourne's Gareth Widdop and Cowboy enforcer Tariq Sims.
Of that quartet, Hopoate did his cause no harm by making his State of Origin debut for NSW, but his momentum was stymied by injury. He returned against Penrith and hopes to continue his resurgence against the Wests Tigers tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, Brisbane captain Darren Lockyer believes Petero Civoniceva's return to the Broncos next season will leave a great legacy with the club's young forwards. Lockyer also admitted he wasn't surprised to hear of his friend's return.
"It's been talked about in the past, Petero coming back," Lockyer said on the Broncos website.
"With the coaching movement at Penrith, even without hearing the rumours I started putting two and two together. His family was coming back. It makes sense."
And Canberra chief executive Don Furner has reiterated the club's desire to extend the contract of fullback Josh Dugan beyond the end of 2012.
"There's no doubt he's going to be in demand and he's a huge priority for us," Furner told ABC radio in Canberra.
"We wanted to talk to Josh at the start of the year when he was in contention for Origin which he obviously played. We'll get these re-signings out of the road and if Josh is interested then we'll sit down at the end of the year. I haven't restarted that up (yet)."
Photograph Copyright : Getty Images