Renouf: The day I nearly signed with Roosters for $1 million a year
The Sydney Roosters are on their way to Brisbane this week - not many people know this but I nearly went the other way midway through my career in the 1990s.
I was very close to signing on to play for the Tricolours on a $1 million a year deal over three seasons at the height of the Super League war.
For a few years prior to the one and only Super League season in 1997 there was a lot going on in the background with clubs trying to lure players with massive money being thrown around.
I had followed the Roosters as a young bloke and every time my contract came up for renewal at the Broncos they showed an interest, but on this occasion in the mid-1990s it was different.
Roosters chairman Nick Politis, someone I respect greatly, had been in touch with me about joining the club. He was staying at the Stamford Plaza in the Brisbane CBD and had a big suite up the top. My ex-wife and I met him and he told me why he wanted me to come to the Roosters.
He wanted me on a three-year contract and then said I could write down on a piece of paper what I wanted.
Nick went out of the room and left us on our own, so we thought we'd go for broke. We wrote down $1 million a year.
When Nick came back we said we were ready and showed him the figure we'd written down. Nick agreed to that. I will never forget when he said "that can be done". We shook hands on that but there was never a contract.
Not long after that News Ltd won a key court case on behalf of Super League. I ended up signing for four years with the Broncos on $500,000 a season and I was more than happy with that. I couldn't leave the club and ultimately, I'm glad I didn't.
It wasn't about the money. Even before we had met Nick in Brisbane, we had gone to Sydney to look at buying a house in the Cronulla area. It had been in the works for a while.
At the height of the Super League saga we had another meeting with James Packer, Bob Fulton and Ken Arthurson at Brisbane Airport.
There was four of us Broncos – Kevvie Walters, Glenn Lazarus, Julian O'Neill and myself.
Bozo said he could get me to Manly, but that all went by the wayside too.
It was a tough time for the game and the media spotlight was intense. Not long after the meeting with Nick, the pressure on us all became immense so I got away from it all and went on a short break to Lindeman Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
A day later, Fatty Vautin, who was in the ARL camp, turned up with his wife but a day later he left and went back to the Gold Coast. There obviously wasn't enough to keep Fatty interested up there! Arko obviously had the same idea because he was on Hamilton Island at the same time.
It is funny how things pan out. Wayne Bennett almost joined the Roosters in 2007 and could well be coaching them on Friday night if events had unfolded differently, and that was after talking to Nick as well.
Nick usually gets his man when he targets a player or a coach, just think Cooper Cronk and Sonny Bill Williams, but you can't win them all.
The Broncos wouldn't be what they are today without Wayne and you could say the same about the Roosters and Nick Politis.
The passion he has shown for his club and the investment he has made in the Roosters for more than 40 years is remarkable.