Revealed: Why Sharks may be forced to lose Morris
INTRICATE details of problems in the Cronulla Sharks' salary cap reveal why centre Josh Morris may get his leave pass to the Sydney Roosters.
It is understood Morris or another player must leave by June 30 for the club to stay safely under the salary cap.
Under NRL rules, the 16 clubs need to have 30 contracted players by the June 30 cut-off date for 2020 registrations.
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The Sharks now have 29 but are right on their cap limit of $9.15 million - which is $350,000 less than other clubs because of their salary cap penalty from two years ago.
It is unlikely they could even afford to sign a 30th player on the minimum wage of $75,000 unless someone leaves.
The other option would be to add a development player on a minimum $35,000 later in the season.
The Sharks had been waiting in hope that veteran centre/fullback Josh Dugan would be picked up by a rival club, but there has been absolutely no interest.
Not since it was revealed he wanted to medically retire.
Morris is understood to be on $280,000 at Cronulla, less than a third of Dugan's contract.
If he is released to the Roosters to join his twin brother Brett, the Sharks will have the cap space for a 30th player to fulfil their list requirements.
They have already paid the veteran centre $80,000 but would have an extra $200,000 in the cap.
Plus they would get a transfer fee from the Roosters.
Coach John Morris is meeting with head of football Phil Moss and board members on Tuesday to discuss the situation. Morris desperately wants to keep his namesake at the club.
He will be without Dugan, Bronson Xerri (shoulder) and possibly Matt Moylan (hamstring) for round one on Saturday week against the Rabbitohs.
If Morris was to get his release, it would not be until Xerri and Moylan are both fit to play.
Moylan has suffered another setback, re-injuring the calf muscle he strained before Christmas. It's expected to keep him out for up to the first four rounds of the new NRL season, meaning Morris would not be released to the Roosters until round five.
The Sharks face a daunting start to their 2020 campaign with matches against South Sydney (away), Melbourne (home), Newcastle (home), Canterbury (away) and the Roosters (home) in round five, where they would hardly be likely to want to face Morris if he were able to join the two-time premiers.