The Melbourne Storm are on the verge of securing the new Purple Reign Big Three with future Australian hooker Harry Grant and Kiwi Test halfback Jahrome Hughes poised to re-commit to the club on a package deal worth around $6 million.
Storm chairman Matt Tripp has been handling the negotiations about securing Melbourne’s foot print as one of the NRL’s benchmark organizations for the past six months with both Grant and Hughes close to putting pen to paper on upgraded and extended contracts.
The move is a major win for Melbourne after supercoach Wayne Bennett and the Redcliffe Dolphins had made a major play to try and convince both players to join the NRL’s 17th team in 2024.
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Both Grant and Hughes are currently signed at the Storm until the end of 2023.
Grant, 24, is poised to agree to a two-year extension until the end of 2025 with the final two years of the deal tipped to average around the $1 million per season mark.
Grant had met with Dolphins coach Bennett and recruitment guru Peter O’Sullivan with the NRL’s 17th team believed to have offered the Queensland State of Origin hooker more than $1 million per season to become a marquee signing.
But the Dolphins were told over the course of the weekend the Storm hooker was leaning more towards remaining in Melbourne.
The management team of Hughes flew to Melbourne last Thursday for the latest round of talks and have been in negotiations with the Storm since late last year pushing for an upgrade and extension for the Kiwi Test halfback until the end of 2027.
The Dolphins were told they would need to offer Hughes $1 million per season.
The Hughes deal with Melbourne is expected to average around the $800,000-a-season mark including an upgrade for next season and an extension through until the end of 2027.
Hughes, 27, will be 33 by the time the six-year extension with the Storm is finished.
With Grant and Hughes tipped to recommit to the club and star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen signed until the end of 2025 the Storm will soon have the nucleus of the club’s new Big Three locked down long-term until at least the end of 2025.
The final piece of the Storm jigsaw will be Queensland and Australian five-eighth Cameron Munster who remains signed with the Storm until the end of 2023.
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If they can resolve that, then the new Big Three becomes the new Big Four.
Munster has also been in negotiations for the past month with Storm chairman Tripp extremely close with the Melbourne No. 6.
Tripp went to great lengths to ensure the Storm refrained from tearing up Munster’s contract after the white powder drama in Noosa last year.
But the Redcliffe Dolphins are also circling Munster and supercoach Bennett enjoys an extremely tight rapport with the Queensland five-eighth.
The Storm had put a deadline on their two-year Munster extension offer of today but it has since been extended.
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