Discarded Warriors utility Joel Moon looks set to be forced overseas next season with negotiations with a number of NRL clubs on the verge of collapse.
Despite impressing after being recalled to the NRL squad for last week’s 36-12 win over Canterbury, the Warriors have told Moon to look elsewhere in 2012 with Super League clubs Catalans Dragons and Salford his most likely destinations.
Caloundra junior Moon had been eyeing a move to Newcastle to link with his former Broncos coach Wayne Bennett but that now looks unlikely, with the Knights keen to re-sign Wes Naiqama.
Moon’s manager Daryl Mather has also held talks with Brisbane and the Gold Coast but both deals have stagnated in recent weeks.
Mather said it was looking increasingly likely that the 23-year-old would have to continue his career in England next season.
“If he wants to stay on the sort of money he is on now that seems to be the most likely option,” he said. “It’s a shame because he is still young and has a lot to offer. He desperately wanted to play under Wayne again at Newcastle and we were also considering a return home to Queensland but things haven’t gone according to plan.”
Ironically, Moon nearly followed Bennett to St George Illawarra three years ago in a package deal with Darius Boyd but decided the Warriors would provide better opportunities to cement his spot in first grade.
Having played 40 games for the Warriors in 2009 and 2010, he was dropped to the NSW Cup after three games this season and only recalled last week following injury to Kiwi Test centre Lewis Brown.
Moon told NRL.com that he hoped to use the coming weeks to prove his value to other NRL clubs.
“I’d like to finish the year well and finish my time at the Warriors on a high,” he said. “It’s disappointing to be leaving. I would have liked to have stayed with the boys but that’s out of my hands now.”
Asked about his options for next season, Moon said: “It’s still up in the air – there are still a few things I need to do but I just want to concentrate on playing good footy at the moment and everything else will fall into place.
“The main thing for me has just been getting back into first grade and staying in. I just needed a bit of confidence and I had to work on a few things so hopefully I’ve done that now. I’m excited to be back in the team. My goal now is to cement my spot for the finals.”
The Warriors are in good shape to finish in the top eight for the second year in a row following consecutive wins over the Gold Coast and Canterbury but face a tough trip to Sydney to take on a desperate South Sydney side this Sunday.
Moon said that the performances of stars Greg Inglis and Chris Sandow in the Rabbitohs’ golden-point win over Sydney Roosters last week had captured the Warriors’ attention.
“They were both very good but across the board they can be dangerous,” he said.
“They’re going alright at the moment. We’ve both had back-to-back wins so it will be a big game for both of us.
“But we’re feeling pretty good. We’ve worked on quite a few things the past few weeks that seem to be working well for us. The key now for every side is to string some wins together heading into the finals but we’ve got the players and we’re all on the same page so we’re feeling confident.”