Balmain great Benny Elias has warned the Wests Tigers risk losing more than just one of their halves if they fail to re-sign young NRL stars Mitchell Moses or Luke Brooks.
Elias, who is the uncle of five-eighth Moses, says fullback James Tedesco and the pair are so close that if one isn’t re-signed, the entire trio will walk.
“Tedesco will go where these two blokes go, I’ll tell you,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“It’s a massive blow if they leave.
“They are the backbone, they are the future of the club and that’s what the spectators are waiting to see.”
Moses and Brooks are both contracted until the end of 2016, and originally had until the end of January to sign an automatic extension which would keep them at the club until the completion of the 2017 season.
That option has been deferred until June, however Tigers coach Jason Taylor is adamant this is not a sign either wishes to leave the club.
“To have a clause in a contract that had to be activated in late-January or February for the following season was going to put pressure on everybody,” he told radio 2UE’s Sports Today program. “So we’ve pushed that back.
“The guys are off-contract at the end of next season and that’s normal, that happens at all clubs and we obviously want to work hard to keep them at the Wests Tigers not just for the following season, but for the next 10 years.
“We’re confident they will remain with the club; it just the takes pressure off as far as the negotiations go.”
Tedesco also went close to leaving the club in 2014, signing with Canberra before backflipping a week later on the deal.
Elias said Tedesco’s decision to stay at Concord was a result of his tight-knit relationship with the two young halves.
Earlier, the club’s representative prop Aaron Woods said he wouldn’t pressure the pair to make a decision on their future.
“As I say to all the boys, if you have some contract stuff, I don’t really get into that,” Woods told AAP.
“That is for them to do and that is the same for me. When I do that, I don’t worry about what anyone else is doing – I just worry about myself and my family.
“Whatever they do, I will support them. I would love to have them at the club. I am there to support them.
“They are two of the best young blokes and best young players I have played with.”
The decision to defer the automatic extension of their contracts is an interesting move, given Taylor showed faith in Brooks and Moses as his first-choice halves pairing throughout a forgettable 2015 for the Tigers.
Taylor is off contract at the end of 2017. But given his falling out with Robbie Farah, the loss of key personnel including Marty Taupau and Keith Galloway and the Tigers’ lack of improvement under him in his first year, the former South Sydney and Parramatta mentor will be under pressure to produce results from the get-go next year.