NRL Grand Final 2023: Jarome Luai $2 million pay rise if he leaves Panthers, where will he go? Tigers, Dragons, Bulldogs

Jarome Luai will soon have to choose between earning an extra $2 million or staying at his beloved Panthers.

The two-time premiership winning No. 6 will hit the open market on November 1 and clubs will be lining up to sign Luai with a halves shortage across the league.

Penrith have reportedly told Luai they can only afford to offer him $800,000 per season as the reigning premiers face a cap squeeze.

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The 26-year-old could attract long-term offers around the $1.2 million mark and the NRL 360 panel debated on Monday night which decision Luai will make for his future.

“If Penrith can’t get a deal done (before November 1) then I think he’s at least a million-dollar player,” Brent Read said.

“In the modern game that’s par for the course for a good half and there’s no doubt he’s a really, really, good half. Clubs like Canterbury, the Tigers, the Dragons, they’d love to have a guy like him.”

Braith Anasta believes clubs are “desperate” and will be willing to “pay overs”.

“I think he’s worth a million plus, like I was saying with Reece (Walsh) and everyone was saying that’s crazy money,” Anasta said.

“But the reality is an off-market of his quality, and Reece Walsh, those guys go to market they’re getting overs.

“I’m not saying they don’t deserve it, but teams are desperate.”

“I think Penrith have told him they can only offer him $800,000 so if a club comes to him and offers him $1.2 million on a five-year deal, which they will, that’s an extra $2 million they can earn. That’s pretty hard to turn your back on,” Read said.

But Phil Rothfield believes Luai will turn his back on the cash in favour of sustained success at the Panthers.

“He’s just bought a house in Penrith, a lovely family home. I have a feeling he’ll take a reasonable haircut to stay because he’s guaranteed success at that organisation not for one or two years but probably for the next six or seven,” Rothfield said.

“As a player, you’re probably willing to take a couple hundred a year less to stay somewhere but if you’re talking up around three or four hundred a year, that’s a different beast.”

Originally published as ‘Crazy money’: Luai’s $2 million decision as rivals circle off-contract Panthers star

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