Sydney Roosters kingpin Nick Politis has long been regarded as rugby league’s shrewdest negotiator.
If there’s one thing Uncle Nick loves as much as the Sydney Roosters it’s the art of the deal.
Go through all the contracts Politis has put together over the course of the past three decades and it’s an all-star cast; Freddy Fittler, Gus Gould, Adrian Morley, Sonny Bill Williams, James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk being prime examples.
Politis often talks openly about the respect and high regard he has for Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson and how he wants the three-time premiership winner to become the Roosters equivalent of Sir Alex Ferguson at English Premier League giant Manchester United.
Which is where the fine detail of Robinson’s five-year contract extension until the end of 2028 gets interesting.
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Robinson has now joined Craig Bellamy as the NRL’s highest-paid coach with the new five-year deal believed to be north of $1.3 million per season.
Given Bellamy and Robinson have been the NRL’s most successful coaches of the past decade – winning three premierships each – their standing in the game is beyond question.
When Robinson first started out at the Roosters it was the well-known agent Wayne “Eager Beaver” Beavis who was doing the coach’s negotiating.
But given his stature and growth over the course of the past 10 seasons he is the Roosters coach who now cuts his own deals.
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Politis and Robinson met at the Sydney Roosters headquarters at the Moore Park Entertainment Quarter a month ago to sit down for talks.
The pair strolled across to the Azure Cafe where it proceeded to take only one meeting and a couple of phone calls for the deal to be done.
The quick negotiation underlines the level of respect Politis has for Robinson.
Business is business, but there must have also been a fair degree of emotion involved given how tight Uncle Nick and Robbo are.
The Roosters duo then kept the contract extension under wraps until the Roosters had the club’s traditional family day for players’ extended families at the SCG on Monday.
At the end of a night which involved Roosters legends Freddy Fittler, Mitch Aubusson, Adrian Morley and Ian Schubert, Politis told the 200-strong gathering about Robinson re-committing to the club until the end of 2028.
Robinson wanted little fuss or fanfare but the news was met with huge celebration.
Now it’s back to the business of trying to win more premierships.
DOLPHINS CIRCLE SAINTS YOUNG GUN
The Redcliffe Dolphins are circling St George Illawarra young gun Junior Amone as the NRL’s newest club continues to make waves in the player market.
Amone is under contract until the end of 2023 but with Red V skipper Ben Hunt owning the no.7 jumper and rookie half Jayden Sullivan also signed until the end of 2025, it’s the old three doesn’t go into two scenario.
The Dragons have also signed Moses Mbye as a utility, so once Sullivan returns from his latest hamstring strain coach Anthony Griffin will have a decision to make.
When supercoach Wayne Bennett picks up the phone, players listen.
The Dragons have been aware of the Dolphins’ interest since before Christmas.
Amone has looked right at home playing alongside Hunt in the opening two trial games and is clearly an NRL player-in-waiting.
St George Illawarra has been smart by signing Sullivan and fellow young gun Tyrell Sloan until the end of 2025.
But with Amone off at the end of 2023 the Dolphins’ interest makes sense.
The Dragons also have a new-look recruitment committee following the appointment of ex-Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan as a consultant.
The Red V brains trust now includes Flanagan, Griffin, general manager of football Ben Haran and CEO Ryan Webb.
There’s no question one of Flanagan’s first priorities will be working out where young gun Amone is at.
The Dolphins landed a major coup last month when the club signed Penrith’s SG Ball halfback Isaiya Katoa on a three-year deal from 2023.
SAVAGE TALENT ON ICE FOR NOW
Canberra Raiders electric fullback Xavier Savage looks set to miss out on the Green Machine’s no.1 jumper with the experience of grand final fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad tipped to prevail.
As red hot and elusive as Savage has looked in the opening two Raiders trial games Nicoll-Klokstad has a wealth of big-game experience.
With Jordan Rapana suspended for the opening two games of the new NRL season, there’s every chance Savage could still earn a spot on the Raiders right wing in the opening rounds.
You can’t help but feel for the Raiders halfback Jamal Fogarty who injured the meniscus in his knee kicking a ball in the warm-up for their second trial win over Manly last weekend.
Fogarty will now miss four months meaning rookie halfback Brad Schneider will get first crack at being the Raiders halfback.
Schneider, 21, was born in Adelaide and raised Townsville.
The halfback captained Kirwan State High School in their NRL Schoolboy Cup win over Westfield Sports High School in 2019 before being signed by the Raiders.
The rookie halfback got a taste of life in the NRL with six minutes off the interchange bench against the Melbourne Storm last year and is highly regarded amongst the Raiders playing group.
FOXX TELLS TEAMMATES TO GET AROUND TRYSCORER
You’ve got to love the energy of new Bulldogs recruit Josh Addo-Carr.
Watch the replays of last Monday’s trial against Cronulla when fellow Canterbury-Bankstown new recruit Brent Naden scores what looked like being the Bulldogs second try.
The Fox was immediately blowing up at his new teammates for failing to rush in to celebrate the try.
It might only seem minor but it’s easy to see the benefits of buying a player out of the Melbourne Storm system where this type of celebration is simply considered a given.
Ultimately the Naden try was disallowed because of an obstruction but the point was the Fox wants all his teammates on the same page in terms of togetherness and chemistry.