Daily Telegraph - Tuesday! How two phone calls made Matt $120,000 By DEAN RITCHIE Rugby League Writer July 19, 2005 DESPERATE Melbourne yesterday came forward with an increased offer for in-demand halfback Matt Orford and two telephone calls later he was worth an extra $120,000. The Daily Telegraph can reveal Melbourne's revised deal would allow Orford the option of quitting the Storm mid-contract to join a Central Coast franchise if admitted to the NRL. Melbourne's contract increase of $40,000 a season came after phone calls between Orford's manager George Mimis and Melbourne chief executive Brian Waldron. Waldron phoned Mimis yesterday afternoon amid talk the playmaker was ready to sign a four-year deal with Manly worth $1.7 million. The Storm's revised offer over three years is now worth about $480,000 a season. Melbourne officials are concerned the club missed out on Queensland Origin prop Ben Ross and could now watch Orford walk away. Yesterday's developments mean the odds have suddenly swung in favour of Orford remaining in Melbourne and rejecting offers from the Sea Eagles and South Sydney. Waldron was in Sydney yesterday but said meetings he attended did not discuss Orford. Mimis said the new deal involved "financial and non-financial" factors. "We are having ongoing discussions with Melbourne and today they decided to give us an updated proposition," Mimis said. "The deal is both financial and non-financial. They have been prolonged negotiations," Mimis said. "Matt wants to get this decision right." Waldron said the Storm halfback was keen to stay in Melbourne. "We are still talking. It has been a long-winded process, but it is an important one," he said. "We are looking at a number of options and issues, and the financial factor is only one of them. We believe we have done everything possible to convince him to stay. "I genuinely believe he wants to stay, otherwise he'd already be gone. "The only deadline we are working to is the one that gets it done as soon as possible. "That's what we're all working towards. It has been difficult at times, but that's the nature of these negotiations." Manly executive director Paul Cummings said his club was still optimistic of signing Orford. "We'd like to think we're a real good chance of signing Matt," Cummings said. "We have a great forward pack and Matt would find life easier behind our pack. "We are quietly confident and are still waiting. But we feel we have offered him the ideal package." The Storm, Manly and Souths are all expecting a decision from Orford today or tomorrow.