The Cowboys could struggle to keep hold of star second-rower Jeremiah Nanai after his agent revealed a host of NRL clubs are keen to lure him away.
The 19-year-old is the talk of the town following his performance against the Broncos on Sunday. Nanai scored a hat-trick of tries in the 38-12 win at Suncorp and his agent’s phone has been red hot ever since.
Speaking to the Courier Mail, Nanai’s representative Sam Ayoub says his client’s stock has risen after the weekend. To perform the way he did in front of a hostile crowd in the Queensland derby has caught the eye of admirers.
Ayoub is refusing to talk figures and also stayed tightlipped on the clubs that are interested. However the Courier Mail reports that the Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights are among them.
The Dolphins also get a mention. Wayne Bennett has a roster to fill ahead of 2023 and would no doubt love to get Nanai on board.
The Cowboys hope to keep hold
There is also the possibility of Nanai staying with the Cowboys. Indeed North Queensland attempted to tie him to fresh terms in 2021. Ayoub says they opted to delay talks so the youngster could focus on his footy.
Talks will soon get underway and it looks as though Nanai is in a strong position. There is talk of rival clubs offering Nanai a three-year deal worth $600,000 a season.
Ayoub would not go into detail but did confirm rival NRL clubs have been in touch. And the price has gone up after Sunday’s performance.
“It was a brilliant performance by Jeremiah and there is no shortage of interest,” Ayoub told the Courier Mail. “I don’t want to speculate on figures but his price has certainly gone up since the start of the season.
“A number of clubs have been in touch making it clear they would like to talk to Jeremiah.”
Talks set to begin
Talks are now set to begin and coach Todd Payten recently said he was “cautiously optimistic” of keeping Nanai.
Payten is hoping there is enough room on the salary cap and the figures being mentioned could be too big. Jason Taumalolo, Valentine Holmes and Chad Townsend are already on hefty deals.
The Cowboys coach also says North Queensland is the right club for him at this stage of his career. However the chance to sign a big contract elsewhere could be too tempting to turn down.
Nanai will get another chance to shine when the Cowboys play the Roosters on Saturday.