Clubs get extra time to decide on off-contract players
Clubs have been given extra time to inform off-contract players whether they are in their plans for 2021.
Under normal circumstances, those approaching the end of their deals are told by May 1 whether their club wants to retain them or not. They also have the option of stating they are undecided.
But that date has been pushed back to June 26 for full-time players – and September for part-time players in the lower-leagues – because of the coronavirus crisis.
The season has been on hold for more than a month and with so much uncertainty over clubs’ finances – and many staff on furlough – the RFL thought it fair to give clubs more time to decide their intentions. Players in the final year of their contracts are still free to begin talking to rival clubs from next week.
Wigan have five frontline players coming off contract this year – Sean O’Loughlin, Ben Flower, Thomas Leuluai, Joe Burgess and Morgan Escare.
Captain O’Loughlin has already indicated this will be his last season before he hangs up his boots to take a coaching role with the club.
Leuluai, who turns 35 in the summer, may play on for one more year and prop Flower wants to continue.
Winger Burgess had lost his place in the side when Dom Manfredi returned from injury, with Liam Marshall preferred on the left edge, while Frenchman Escare is expected to depart.
He spent the end of last season on loan at Wakefield, having failed to cement a spot in Adrian Lam’s side, and had not played this year before the enforced break.
One other development is the signing deadline for the current season has been put back. It will now be six weeks before the play-offs start, meaning the new date can only finalised once the rearranged fixtures are confirmed.
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