Orford agrees to terms with Manly in NRL 20:47 AEST Wed Jul 20 2005 AAP Melbourne halfback Matt Orford has agreed to terms with Manly on a four-year deal, ending weeks of speculation over his NRL future. Orford will make an official announcement on Thursday when he will also inform his Storm teammates of his long-awaited decision. His manager George Mimis told Storm chief executive Brian Waldron following a meeting of NRL club CEOs in Sydney. The 25-year-old City Origin halfback rejected offers from South Sydney and Melbourne to join his club teammate Steve Bell at the Sea Eagles from 2006. "I'm not gutted," said Rabbitohs boss Shane Richardson on hearing the bad news. "All I can say is it's the old Gomer Pyle - surprise, surprise, surprise." The Rabbitohs have emerged from the silly season with a fairly bare cupboard on the recruitment front, missing out on Orford, Braith Anasta and Ben Ross. Their skipper Ashley Harrison has agreed to link with Anasta at the Sydney Roosters. Storm winger Matt Geyer was stunned at the realisation Orford would be ending his five-year association with Melbourne. "It's not a good thing for the club," said Geyer. "That's a bit of a downer. We've still got this year obviously but going on to the future it's not so good." The loss of Bell and Orford is a huge blow to the Storm, who have bought Sydney Roosters hardman Michael Crocker to add some mongrel to the forwards. Geyer said the pair's departure could provide some extra motivation for the Storm to win their second premiership following its 1999 success. "They're both very popular," Geyer added. "If we haven't got enough motivation that's good enough reason I suppose (to win the premiership)." In a bid to make room for Orford under the salary cap, the Sea Eagles off-loaded Sam Harris to the Wests Tigers and are yet to re-sign hooker Chad Randall. It means Michael Monaghan is likely to play hooker for them next year, a position he is loathe to take on. Meanwhile, Waldron labelled Parramatta counterpart Denis Fitzgerald as insular after the Eels boss called for the Australian Rugby League to kill negotiations to play an Origin match in Melbourne next year. Fitzgerald renewed his attack on developing rugby league in Victoria at the club chief executives meeting. The ARL plans on scheduling an Origin match in Melbourne in 2006 after the Victorian government agreed to spend $100 million redeveloping the Storm's home ground Olympic Park into a 25,000-seat stadium with a rectangular field. Blues coach Ricky Stuart said earlier this month it would be a "disgrace" if Sydney lost the right to host one of its two Origins earmarked for next year but Waldron reckons it's case of short-sightedness from the Sydney Roosters mentor and Fitzgerald. "You have to be prepared to have some courage and suffer a little bit of pain along the way," said Waldron about spreading the game in AFL heartland. "That involves moving the odd Origin and Tri Nations game away. If we're prepared to do that we'll grow the game. "It's a very insular approach to think that the game should only be played in Queensland and New South Wales because you will restrict your capacity to grow the market." Last year Fitzgerald - a vocal critic of the Storm - equated rugby league's presence in Victoria to "promoting beach volleyball in Iceland". His criticism did not wane when he claimed an Origin would be "stolen" from Sydney and NSW fans if the plan to shift a game to Melbourne went ahead as expected. "I don't think people in Melbourne want rugby league," said Fitzgerald. "They haven't embraced the Storm and things are getting worse with crowds down there. "It's just depriving the people of Sydney and New South Wales a chance to attend one of the showpiece games of the rugby league season." Canberra back-rower Matt Adamson, who turns 33 next month, will announce on Thursday that he will retire from the NRL at the end of this season to accept a job of strength and conditioning coach at new French club Les Catalans.