NRL Player Market: Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks, Tom Burgess title unsigned stars

Four of the biggest free agents on the market in 2023 could see their contracts cut in half if they put pen to paper. Our experts reveal every player without a contract and their current market value.

The new NRL season may only have just begun, but Cronulla second-rower Teig Wilton will be the surprise free-agent class winner of 2023.

The Roosters caused shockwaves before the start of this week’s season-opening round when they pinched Penrith’s Premiership winner Spencer Leniu and signed Victor Radley and Egan Butcher.

It has again been shown that clubs are already securing their futures, with a host of big names including Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks, Tom Burgess, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Jake Wighton speaking freely to opposing clubs.

Some are lined up for record paydays, with Suaalii and Wilton expected to be the big winners.

Others like Brooks, Tyson Frizell, Luke Thompson and David Fifita could see their contracts cut by up to half of their current deals.

Fifita is being chased by the Raiders and his former club, the Broncos, while the Titans are desperate to stay behind. Canberra have come to terms with missing Fifita for one of the Queensland-based sides.

Burgess is about to sign a new deal with the Rabbitohs. In 2013, Thomas Burgess arrived from England on a one-year contract to play in South Sydney with his brothers Sam, George and Luke.

A decade later, the 30-year-old is poised to retire as a Rabbitohs legend with a new deal that will cement his position as the longest-serving front rower in club history.

As the ultimate gift to kick off the 2023 Rabbitohs season, Burgess is willing to sign at least one new 12-month contract despite higher-interest offers for the Super League deal.

With 209 NRL games for the Rabbitohs, Burgess has moved up to fourth place as the Bunnies’ most-capped player this season behind John Sutton (336), Adam Reynolds (231) and Nathan Merritt (219).

The great Bob McCarthy is sitting at 211 games.

The Rabbitohs and Burgess will continue to discuss the prospect of a two-year deal, but for now the mighty big man will be with Redfern for 2024.


market value: $350,000

Was close to joining the Tigers this year but that deal fell through at the last minute. The former NSW player has been on the hunt for a new club for months after being given permission to leave by the Eels. Trouble finding a suitable home. The Bulldogs and the Dragons, two teams that need center forwards, have not shown interest. A club may have to wait until he has a few injuries before finding a new home.


market value: $350,000

Has a verbal offer of a year extension to stay at the club but both parties will now wait and see how Laurie starts the season. Has beaten new signing Charlie Staines for the full-back role but his future may depend on what happens in the halves. Adam Doueihi has signed for another season and could switch back to full-back should the Tigers land Mitchell Moses.

Luke Brooks (Tiger)

Market value: $600,000

In the last year of a million-dollar contract. I won’t see those kind of numbers again regardless of how he does this year. Another player whose future will be affected by what Moses does. The Tigers are hoping for a long-term reunion for Moses and Brooks. He’ll probably stay at the club.


market value: $220,000

A coaching change has added at least one more season to Johnson’s career. Johnson struggled to keep his place on the Warriors team midway through last season but was given a reprieve from new coach Andrew Webster. There’s a big chance he’ll retire at the end of this year or get a 12-month deal at a bargain price to stay with the Warriors if he can replicate some of his best footballers.


market value: $400,000

The Roosters have made it clear that this is likely to be Tupou’s last season at the club. He was set to break Anthony Minichiello’s record as the Roosters’ all-time top scorer that year. Dom Young’s arrival next season means Tupou’s future in the Super League is likely. Would have a market if he wanted to stay in the NRL but will likely choose to move abroad.


market value: $750,000

Another decorated rooster that might be on its way out by the end of the season. His battered body begins to fail him, and the Roosters—as they did with Tupou—plot for a post-Waerea-Hargreaves life given their pursuit of Spencer Leinu. A move to the Super League could be in the works for the Kiwi star.


market value: $425,000

A serious injury came at a grueling time for Watson, who has entered the final year of his contract. He is expected to miss half of the season due to a knee injury. The injury will affect his market value, but the Roosters will be keen to keep Watson, whose Mr-fix-it skills from the bench are very valuable.


market value: $610,000

Both parties have been in talks about a new contract and are close to agreeing on a minimum of 12 months. Burgess could be aiming for a richer and longer-term deal if he wanted to return to the Super League. Not keen on playing for another NRL club.


market value: $750,000

Gold Coast and Canberra thought they were in a straight shootout for Fifita but his former club Brisbane have now emerged as a potential target. He’s taking a pay cut everywhere he goes, but a return to Brisbane might be too tempting to ignore.


market value: $750,000

The Storm are working hard to keep the great Nelson at the club but they face a struggle, not only from rival NRL clubs but also from rugby union. News Corp reckons some of Storm’s NRL rivals may be willing to pay up to $900,000 a season for Asofa-Solomona. Rugby union will also be a priority – he played the game before joining Melbourne.


market value: $420,000

The Knights will play a waiting game with Frizell this season while monitoring his form and fitness before deciding whether to submit a renewal for the former NSW forward. At 31, he’s at the end of his career rather than the beginning, but his leadership and experience are a valuable asset, a fact that hasn’t escaped the Knights’ notice.


market value: $1.2 million

Moses has an option in his favor with the Eels for next season, effective in turn 10. Before that, however, he is likely to have again signed a long-term mega deal worth up to $5 million with Parramatta. The Wests Tigers are still swinging, but they appear to be losing the fight.


market value: $375,000

There was plenty to like about Hodgson’s first appearance for the Eels on Thursday night, albeit in a losing effort against Melbourne. Parramatta has an option in their favor for the England international next season and whether they accept it will be determined by form and whether he can avoid injury this season.


market value: $280,000

The Knights were interested in Sorensen as a potential player swap involving outgoing winger Dom Young. Penrith didn’t feel like cutting it loose, an indication of how highly they value the no-frills front rower. The Panthers have started initial talks over a contract extension to keep him at the foot of the mountains.


market value: $375,000

A Raiders fan favorite who will surprisingly turn 34 next August. Age is just a number for Rapana as the winger/full-back has made no fewer than 19 appearances in a season since his debut year at the club in 2014. Rapana wants to end his career in Canberra and will make a call in June to decide whether to pursue another 12-month deal with the Green Machine.


market value: $900,000

The NSW State of Origin star is about to enter the final season of a four-year deal with Canberra that includes an option in his favor for 2024. In fact, Wighton has until April to let Canberra know he wants to activate the option and he’ll earn around $900,000 for 2024. Of course, the other move Wighton could make is the bombshell call the Raiders are making for a rival next year to leave the club. The Raiders are confident Wighton isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.


Mmarket value:$280,000

Watch for the Dogs to re-sign Averillo, who has already played 54 NRL games by the time he was 22. There is a strong belief within Belmore walls that Averillo can develop into a serious attacking center after spending last season as a full-back and dabbling in the halves as well. Coach Cameron Ciraldo is a big fan of the fast footballer.


market value: $850,000

For the Englishman, who suffered a serious foot injury a few days before the first round, this is just a nightmare scenario. He’s hoping to be back in 12 weeks, but it’s almost impossible to believe the front rower will ever earn the massive contract he originally signed with the Dogs in 2020. In reality, it has proved a disastrous purchase from the Dogs, who are almost certain to sever ties with the 27-year-old.


market value: $450,000

Unlike last preseason, the sly halfback had every opportunity to make the No. 7 jersey his own. He has coached every session alongside Matt Burton and will be joined by Cameron Ciraldo to pilot the Dogs in 2023. Flanagan’s first half of the season will determine whether the Dogs will consider a contract extension.


market value: $450,000

Currently in negotiations to sign with the Sharks for a further 12 months. The skilled full-back, the last of the full Cronulla backline to have extended his future at the club, is suddenly a priority for the club after rising star Kade Dykes fell to the ground with a season-ending knee injury.


market value: $375,000

As he approaches his fourth NRL season, the still-developing Cronulla backrower was shown love in no uncertain terms by being picked ahead of club legend Wade Graham, who will play off the bench in round one. The Sharks are keen to re-sign the young talent and have entered negotiations amid interest from competing clubs. The Knights and Raiders are two clubs on the hunt for a backrower.


market value: $300,000

Already had interest from competing NRL clubs. Given the money they’ve had to splash on a number of players, the Eels might struggle to keep him. Blake at 28 still has a lot to offer in the NRL.

Originally published as 23 for ’23: The NRL’s biggest unsigned stars and where they could end up NRL Player Market: Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks, Tom Burgess title unsigned stars

Ryan Sederquist

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