Wests Tigers have also expressed an interest in Burton, who is off contract after 2021. The club is on the lookout for a halves partner for Luke Brooks now that Benji Marshall has moved on, although Penrith’s biggest threat comes from Canterbury.
The Bulldogs have a two-year deal on the table, which would be extended to a third season if the Panthers are prepared to release him immediately. Should Burton sign with a rival club for 2022, it could prompt Penrith to grant him an early release.
The Tigers are still sweating on a decision from Josh Addo-Carr. The Storm star has signed a heads of agreement to join the joint venture for four years, although that remains contingent on Melbourne granting him an early release from his contract. The NSW winger is keen to move to Sydney for family reasons, but may have to delay the shift for a further 12 months.
“All that stuff off-field, my manager is doing all the work,” Addo-Carr said. “I’m not too fussed.”
Addo-Carr is one of several notable talents who slipped through the Tigers’ fingers in recent years, a list that includes Ryan Papenhuyzen, Nathan Brown, James Tedesco, Aaron Woods, Andrew Fifita, Curtis Sironen and Moses. They could be about to lose another one, given rival clubs are circling Alex Seyfarth. The Tigers had all but agreed to terms on the first season of a new two-year extension, but the Knights, Sharks or even Penrith could be options after negotiations stalled.
South Sydney could become a player in the transfer market after freeing up about $1 million in salary cap space for 2021. James Roberts has been released and Corey Allan has been permitted to look elsewhere, with the Broncos shaping as a potential destination for the latter.
However, the Rabbitohs aren’t prepared to budge on Joseph Suaalii, who has requested a release to join arch-rivals the Roosters. The in-demand teen is expected to sign a long-term deal with the tricolours, which include exit clauses in the players’ favour, from 2022.
Suaalii is on a $60,000 contract with Souths for 2021, which the club will enforce, even though it is resigned to the fact he doesn’t want to play for them. The Rabbitohs will write off the money just to ensure he can’t defect early to the Roosters.