St George Illawarra Dragons weigh up Luke Keary’s $1.2 million contract request

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St George Illawarra officials held a meeting on Thursday to discuss Luke Keary joining the club next season on a three-year deal worth close to $1.2 million.

It comes as premiership-winning prop James Tamou edges closer to signing a lucrative four-year deal with Penrith after informing North Queensland teammates he would be leaving the club to return to Sydney at the end of the season.

Keary’s manager Paul Sutton has asked the Dragons to outlay up to $400,000 a season to lure the South Sydney playmaker to the club next year, a move that would almost end Benji Marshall’s hopes of gaining an extension at the joint venture.

The Dragons, who believe Keary would be the ideal foil to complement skipper Gareth Widdop, held a recruitment meeting on Thursday and will likely propose a counter offer after debating whether to commit to Keary’s asking price.

Keary, who is in doubt for Friday night’s clash with the Wests Tigers after an ankle injury in the golden-point loss to Gold Coast last week, started the season with a price tag of $800,000 a season.

However his well-publicised fallout with Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe in the pre-season, as well as his own form woes that culminated in his demotion to the bench a month ago, have halved his market value.

The Dragons have been struggling to score in recent seasons and coach Paul McGregor believes Keary can help assist with fixing the problem.

Marshall, who at the start of the year was offered $300,000 to stay at the club in 2017, would likely be forced out if Keary joins the Dragons.

Tamou, who visited the new Panthers academy earlier in the season, is expected to put pen to paper with Penrith on a deal worth $4 million over three years before rejoining his Blues teammates in Origin camp on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old Australian international informed the Cowboys of his decision to leave the club for family reasons on Thursday, with his manager Sam Ayoub suggesting three Sydney clubs had expressed interest.

Panthers general manager Phil Gould admitted the club was keen to sign the prop but insists a deal had not been reached. “We always said we would wait until James decided whether he wanted to leave the Cowboys,” Gould said. “Now that he’s made that decision, we’ll be in the fight.”

An English Super League club has offered dumped Panthers hooker James Segeyaro a contract for the remainder of the season and next year.

While Penrith wouldn’t stand in Segeyaro’s way after deciding the off-contract hooker was no longer in their plans, it is understood Segeyaro doesn’t want to leave the NRL despite little interest shown in the Papua New Guinean for next year.

Segeyaro has been one of Penrith’s best players the past few seasons but has fallen out of favour under the coaching of Anthony Griffin, who has shown he isn’t afraid of wielding the axe by sending Jamie Soward to the NSW Cup alongside Segeyaro.

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