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Player drain not a concern, say Roosters

June 15, 2006 - 10:54PM

The Sydney Roosters are not concerned about a drainage of playing talent despite stars Ryan Cross and Adrian Morley this week announcing they will leave the NRL club at the end of the season.

Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said on Thursday the club's playing roster was strong and retaining youngsters was a priority over entering the player market hard after June 30.

Canavan's comments came as club captain Craig Fitzgibbon denied he had spoken with new NRL franchise Gold Coast and said he hoped the Roosters would offer him a contract that could keep him at Bondi Junction beyond 2006.

"We're not overly worried about our talent base, senior or junior," Canavan said.

"That is just a balancing act, you've got to have seniority, you've got to have leadership and experience but you've also got to have space for young kids to gain first grade experience and establish themselves."

The Roosters swamped the player market last year, signing big guns Braith Anasta from the Bulldogs and Souths captain Ashley Harrison, but the side is currently languishing in 11th after three straight losses.

Cross announced on Wednesday he would join Super 14 rugby franchise the Western Force while Morley will return to England to join Warrington.

Canavan said clubs had to put "some planning in place" for signing established first graders, but hanging on to talented youngsters was more important.

"We're only just over the halfway point (of the competition), you can't make decisions, particularly on young kids, you can on older players of course," he said.

"What we've got to do is finalise our own retention first, that's been our priority for probably the last six weeks."

Canavan said he had met with Fitzgibbon's manager David Riolo once and negotiations were "ongoing".

He said the departure of Cross and Morley, on top of forwards Jason Cayless and Michael Crocker last year, meant Fitzgibbon's experience was important to the club.

"That's a part of it, Fitzy's a much-loved player in our club too," Canavan said.

"There are things, budgets and salary caps, it's not that simple, I wish it was."

Asked if the Roosters would get to make the last offer to the skipper, Canavan said: "That would be assumed.

"The manager hasn't presented any other club option to us at all, that's not in his line of thinking either."

Fitzgibbon said on Thursday he was hopeful he'd receive an offer that would allow him to stay and would be disappointed to turn his back on seven years at the club.

"I haven't quite had an offer from the club yet, but I love it here and I've been here for a long time now and put a fair bit into the last seven years I've been here and I'd be disappointed to give it away now," he said.

The NRL's June 30 anti-tampering rule prohibits players speaking with rival clubs unless they have permission, and Fitzgibbon denied reports linking him with the Titans.

"I can assure you that I haven't signed anywhere, I haven't spoken to anyone else and I want to play here for the Roosters," he said.

"I love it here, I love everything involved with the club so I'd be silly to turn my back on something I've worked so hard for."

for the last few years a lot of players wanted to play there and they signed almost who ever they wanted, now it looks like players are jumping from a sinking ship.


Winging it
Their aging forwards have shown what everyone thought they would deliver this year, and it is time for a giant broom and rebuilding for the Chooks. No surprises here.


why would they worry, they have Anasta and Finch to steer the ship!

Watch out for that Iceberg boys!

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