Manly signed Luke Brooks on a four-year deal, with the club confirming the news on Monday afternoon, while adding Brooks’ Tigers teammate Tommy Talau and Roosters winger Jaxson Paulo. .
Rising star Tolu Koula, who was in the crosshairs of rugby union, has also signed a contract extension that keeps him at Brookvale until 2027.
The Sea Eagles sent out a statement announcing the transfer flurry, with Brooks starting after turning down a lucrative contract extension to stay in Concord.
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Paulo has signed for three years and Talau for two years.
All three will join the northern beach club in the off-season.
“Luke is a quality back, a former Dally M Back of the Year, bringing over 200 games of experience to our club,” Manly manager Anthony Seibold said.
“He has a fantastic kicking game with his left foot and is a very good football running back.
“We feel that he will add to the column players that we already have in our club.”
Brooks will take a large pay cut to agree to the Manly deal.
While the Sea Eagles did not disclose the terms of the deal, it was reported that Brooks would sign a deal worth approximately $650,000 per season, which is significantly less than his current contract, making him one of the highest-paid players around. in-game at around $1.15 million.
A $650,000 a season contract would drop him more than 60 places on the NRL’s list of highest salaries.
Manly isn’t in a position to pay Brooks anywhere near his current salary, as Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic pay upwards of $1 million per season, while Jake Trbojevic is on a deal worth a mere $1 million per season. and young Josh Schuster is already making around $800,000 a season.
Schuster will be the player most affected by the Brooks deal, with the Manly fifth-eighth in danger of being moved to the back row in favor of a Cherry-Evans/Brooks halves combination, should the 22-year-old win. agree to a lucrative three-year contract extension, as expected.
Brooks’ move is a big gamble for the Sea Eagles, who have publicly backed the talented Schuster to be a long-term star for the club despite the problems he faces with his form and fitness this season.
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Having promised Schuster that he would be the club’s fifth-eighth in the long term, the Sea Eagles appear to have hastily abandoned that plan in pursuit of a premiership before Daly Cherry-Evans retires.
At 34 years old, Cherry-Evans is still one of the best players in the game and recently signed a contract extension that will likely take him to the end of his career in 2025.
That gives the Sea Eagles two years of a likely Cherry-Evans/Brooks combination before the 24-year-old Schuster takes the reins.
Whether or not Schuster is willing to sit back and let things play out that way is another question.
While the fifth-eighth has his future to think about, the 20-year-old center Koula has his own four years after this one, after making a long-term commitment to the Sea Eagles.
“Tolu has been a real find for our club over the last 18 months,” Seibold said.
“He has come here as a junior, playing on our Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams.
“Tolu has further improved as a player this season and we feel he has great potential.
“With Tolu now signed for a couple more years, we can’t wait to see him play his best football.”
Meanwhile, the arrival of Paulo and Talau at the club is likely to force the departure of several outside full-backs.
Paulo, 23, scored 25 tries in 54 NRL matches through seasons at South Sydney and the Roosters and played in the Rabbitohs’ grand final squad in 2021. He also represented Samoa at Test level.
“Jaxson brings with him over 50 games of NRL experience. He’s been in very good systems at the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters,” Seibold said.
“His best year was in 2021, where he appeared in the NRL grand final. What I liked about him that year was the consistency in his performance.
“The year has started very strong for the Roosters and we feel that his best football is in front of him.”
Talau, 23, has fallen out of favor at the Tigers after scoring 19 tries in 44 games for the club.
“Tommy is someone I’ve watched closely for a number of years. He made his debut as an 18-year-old with the Tigers, but he’s been hampered a bit by missing the entire 2022 season,” Seibold added.
“I think he has shown his aggressiveness this year. He is a powerful player but he also shows great ability.
“What Jaxson and Tommy add to us is competition for spots because we’re trying to build consistent performances as a team.
“We want competition for spots and it adds to the quality we already have in our outside defenses.”
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