The NRL have been called on to settle a dispute between Newcastle and forward Joseph Tapine after the club failed to grant him an early release to join Canberra.
Tapine’s agent, Jim Banaghan, claims his client has been relegated from team training and told he will not play NRL this year, after signing a $2 million, four-year deal with the Raiders beginning next season.
The 21-year-old has asked for a release from the final year of his contract, but the Knights have said they won’t make a decision until after this weekend.
“It is unacceptable,” Banaghan told News Corp Australia.
“I have made contact with Todd Greenberg and John Grant this afternoon to make them aware that I am trying to contact them to make a formal complaint.”
Banaghan says the Knights responded to the request by suggesting they would speak to other players before they make the decision, while Newcastle CEO Matt Gidley says Tapine made his own decision to move out of the main training group.
“Joe was given a number of options including training with the team and he chose to train with our high performance on his own,” he said.
Last season centre Joey Leilua secured a mid-season transfer from the Knights to the Raiders just weeks before the June 30 deadline.
The one condition of the exchange was that Leilua would not turn out for Canberra when the two clubs met later in the season.
The Knights and Raiders meet in a trial match in Orange this Saturday.