Kevin Proctor is looming as the player the Roosters are looking at to replace Sonny Bill Williams after the Melbourne Storm second-rower flew in to meet with Roosters management yesterday.
Meanwhile, several sources have claimed that Blake Ferguson to the Roosters next year is a done deal.
Rugby League Week’s Tony Adams — aka “The Mole” — reported the news last night that Proctor met with Roosters coach Trent Robinson and chairman Nick Politis yesterday, and it’s all true.
26 Rounds can confirm that this interest was not just out of the blue, however — discussions with Proctor’s management have been going on for weeks. A source alerted 26 Rounds of the interest a few weeks ago, but at that stage the talks were in the early stages and the Dragons were seen as the club most likely to snag Proctor should the Storm be unable to re-sign him.
But the meeting yesterday was “very positive” according to the source.
For what it’s worth, the source did not mention anything about Blake Ferguson — but several different sources have told 26 Rounds that the deal is all but signed, assuming the NRL clear him to play.
The Roosters gave about as uncommitted a denial as they ever could at the start of the year that they were chasing Ferguson, when Brian Canavan told the Australian that:
“At this point in time he’s a de-registered player and there’s been no correspondence whatsoever from us with the NRL.”
That statement answers the age-old question: how do you say no while leaving it open to eventually saying yes, without saying maybe?
The rumours started pretty much the moment he was sacked by the Raiders, which was just a month after Ferguson tore the Roosters to shreds in a game the Roosters won by just six points in round 22 last year. A two try effort had the higher-ups smitten, and despite the Roosters already possessing Grand Final broken jaw hero Shaun Kenny-Dowall, the rumours never quit.
Brent Read broke the story that the Roosters were chasing James Tedesco. But he sent out a series of Tweets following his initial story which had Peter O’Sulllivan say on the record that the Roosters were indeed not chasing Tedesco. I followed up with a question about a question:
I’ve been loathe to believe these stories, but several sources claim it’s pretty much over the line — assuming Ferguson gets that clearance from the NRL.
Salary cap, you ask? Well, let’s do the maths.
The Roosters are already losing Sonny Bill Williams next year, which will free up roughly $700-800K from the cap, while Anthony Minichiello is expected to retire, especially if the Ferguson signing eventuates. He’s on roughly $200,000.
The Roosters also have Sam Moa off contract, but the Roosters are likely to want to re-sign him despite also having Kane Evans, Remi Casty and Dylan Napa on the books. However, should the Roosters manage to sign Proctor, the Roosters may struggle to keep the Grand Final-winning prop who could command top dollar from other cashed-up clubs such as Parramatta or the Dragons.
Proctor is reportedly asking for $500-600K per season, while Ferguson will come cheap with his reputation and career in tatters — the $300K figure has been mentioned to 26 Rounds, a figure which is roughly the size of the salary cap increase for next year. If signed, Shaun Kenny-Dowall will shift to the wing.
Proctor would be a ready-made replacement for SBW. Both are right-side second rowers and Proctor has been excellent this year running at the edges for Melbourne — although the Roosters have some pretty handy second-rowers already in Mitch Aubusson, Aidan Guerra and Boyd Cordner.
Clearly nothing is official yet, but who would you want at the club next year? Both? Either? Neither? Let us know in the poll below.