It has been a miserable week for injured Wests Tigers fullback Shannon ‘Mighty Mouse’ Gallant but he can rest easy today after the club last night threw him an NRL lifeline.
The 23-year-old, currently on a base contract of only $20,000, is set to sign a new one-year-deal this week – just days after a badly broken leg threatened to derail his career.
Gallant’s manager, Martin Tauber, will contact his client today to go over the terms of the Tigers’ offer but they are expected to accept the deal within days.
“I haven’t spoken to Shannon yet – I think he has gone home to Newcastle because he has been given the week off – but I would say that we will accept the offer,” Tauber told NRL.com.
“There was some concern about the opportunities that might come up from other clubs.
“There was one other club that was interested but they will pull the pin now because he will be out for six weeks and nobody knows the result of the injury.
“But this will secure his future.
“He is a good footballer and he deserves his opportunity.”
The Tigers have offered a one-year deal with an option in their favour for 2011 and 2012 having yesterday revised their initial proposal.
Tigers recruitment manager Warren McDonnell called Tauber last night after the club had initially feared they may not be able to offer Gallant enough to stop him from quitting the NRL and joining the police force.
“It was something we were going to talk about earlier this week but unfortunately Shannon was hurt on the weekend so that slowed things up a bit,” Wests Tigers’ chief executive Stephen Humphries said.
“It’s been tough for him and the fact is that he is a player on the fringe of our cap.
“But we’ve certainly given Shannon the best that we can offer which is better than he has had.
“We’re hopeful that it will be finalised.”
It is believed that one sticking point has been whether Gallant accepts a flat salary or a lesser deal with incentives for playing first grade – a deal similar to the one he is on this season.
“If he plays consistent first grade he can get a decent earn,” Humphries said.
“There are a few different ways that we could structure the arrangement and we’re open to that.
“It depends what balance he wants to strike there.”
While Gallant is yet to be considered a certain starter for the Tigers when fit, the leg injury he sustained during last Sunday’s 17-10 win over the Roosters has thrown the club’s plans for a last-minute surge to the finals into disarray.
Having finally struck a balance in the halves with Tim Moltzen at halfback, Gallant’s absence has forced coach Tim Sheens into a drastic reshuffle with Moltzen returning to fullback and rookie Robert Lui making his NRL debut in the no.7 jersey for this weekend’s clash with Cronulla.
Tauber said the Tigers’ problems were evidence of Gallant’s importance to the side this season.
“I know they say his height and stature go against him but he has proven that he has the heart of Richard the Lionheart,” he said.
Humphries said it was unlikely that the Tigers would look elsewhere to finalise their squad for 2010.
“Our focus is really to retain what we think is a pretty good team at the moment,” he said.
“We’ve got a couple of players (John Morris, Dean Collis and Pene Tagive) moving on so it’s just a few players in our top tier and one or two in our second tier that we’re playing with at the moment.”