It will leave some questioning what contracts are worth these days but the move has happened regardless, with the Manly Sea Eagles confirming that Martin Taupau has signed a four-year deal with the club.

Taupau, now a former Wests Tigers player, played in 45 games for the club over two seasons but ultimately, the decision to release him from the contract was one that came after much debate by the club.

“While it’s disappointing for our Members and fans to see Taupau leave the Club he had made it clear that he intended on playing elsewhere from 2017 onwards,” said Wests Tigers CEO, Justin Pascoe.

“Earlier this year the Club was negotiating with Taupau to extend his stay at Wests Tigers. We put on the table what we believed was a fair offer but ultimately he has decided to continue his playing career elsewhere.

“The decision to release Taupau early not only improves the Club’s salary cap position but as a consequence will also help to secure some of the young talent already with the Club.”

The way it was all revealed was not the way the Tigers wanted it to happen, though.

“The negotiations regarding releasing Taupau have been going on over the last week and our organisation has been doing everything possible to be respectful to Taupau, our Members and fans as this is a sensitive issue for all,” said Pascoe.

“To see all of that work being undone and for the story to come out in this way is disappointing and almost comical.”

Despite the loss of Taupau, Tigers coach Jason Taylor is confident they have the players to replace him.

“We’re confident that our roster, including a number of new recruits, will lead this Club well next season,” said Taylor.

“The Club has been working hard to improve depth across every position and we have players ready to step up.

“We return to pre-season training next week and all of the players are keen to get back onto the field and prepare for next season,” he said.

As for Taupau himself, it was about the opportunity and he will have the chance to play alongside some of his Kiwi team-mates.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to play in a strong team alongside some of the game’s biggest names in Jamie Lyon, Brett Stewart, Daly Cherry-Evans, Peta Hiku and Steve Matai,” Taupau said.

“The Sea Eagles have recruited well for next season and to have the opportunity to play with Australian and Queensland prop Nate Myles, and fellow Kiwi international Lewis Brown, was an added bonus in securing my future with Manly.

“It is a fresh beginning at the Sea Eagles under new Head Coach Trent Barrett and I’m really looking forward to playing under him.

“The Sea Eagles are one of the most successful clubs in the history of rugby league and I want to be a big part in getting them back into the finals next season as they celebrate their 70th Anniversary.”

New coach Trent Barrett welcomed the signing of the hulking forward to the Manly club.

“Marty is a very damaging and aggressive forward who can certainly win you a game,’’ Barrett said.

“He has really come on over the past 12 months and I am looking forward to developing his game. We are still yet to see the very best of Marty and it is great that he will have the opportunity to take his skills to another level at the Sea Eagles.”

With their forward packing boasting some big name already, club CEO Joe Kelly is pleased to add another one.

“To have secured one of the very best forwards in the competition is a real coup for the Sea Eagles,’’ Kelly said.

“Marty has made a great impact in such a short time and he has a real cult following in the game.

“It is going to be a great forward pack with the likes of Nate Myles, Lewis Brown, Jake Trbojevic and now Martin Taupau. We look forward to welcoming Martin to the Sea Eagles family.”

By ricky

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