Wighton met Souths officials on Friday, and was given a tour of the new Heffron Park facilities. The Souths deal is worth about $750,000 in 2024 and 2025, with that figure expected to rise significantly during the final two years of the contract.
Walker and Damien Cook are off-contract at the end of 2025, as is Murray who has been on Eddie Jones’ Rugby Australia radar.
Souths have saved money in their salary cap because a string of players do not have ratchet clauses in their contracts, which were only made mandatory by the NRL after the pandemic. Some of that money will have to be used this season to comply with NRL rules that require clubs to spend at least 95 per cent of their salary cap every year.
Wighton met Bennett on Thursday, with some believing his partner and family’s preference is to relocate to south-east Queensland.
Souths officials, meanwhile, will on Monday ramp up negotiations with Campbell Graham, Keaon Koloamatangi and Tevita Tatola. The trio are Souths juniors and off-contract at the end of 2024, but the club has made them a retention priority.
Jai Arrow is off-contract in 2025 but is also a player Souths will make sure stays off the open market.
The Raiders made their Wighton offer public to ensure any rival club’s offer was on par, and not beefed up by third-party agreements that sit outside the salary cap.
Wighton will return to training on Tuesday with the Raiders, Souths and the Dolphins hopeful the recently retired representative player will make a call on his next move before the weekend.
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