Wests Tigers captain Moses Mbye has questioned the timing of the club's decision to allow luckless playmaker Josh Reynolds the option of looking elsewhere following the June 30 deadline.
Reynolds' long-term future at the club is uncertain after Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire confirmed he had given the former Canterbury five-eighth permission to begin talks with rival clubs despite a further two years remaining on his current deal.
Mbye's own future was at the forefront of a salary cap storm midway through the 2018 season before his exit from the Bulldogs, and he told a media session on Monday he felt Reynolds could've been given the option to assess his short-term future earlier this year.
"He's been very limited to display what he can do," Mbye said.
"I really felt sorry for him, to be honest. The situation probably wasn't handled as good as it could've been but at the end of the day it's such a tough industry and that's the drama of having the salary cap.
"Probably just the timing of it in terms of the June 30 cut-off date and things like that, it wasn't too convenient for him. I wish it got handled a bit better.
"But in saying that, that's more me thinking about a friend rather than the club, footy is a game we're forever in debt too but sometimes it's hard to take the emotion out of it when it's such a close friend.
"Everyone has been supportive of him and he's a strong-minded person."
Match Highlights: Knights v Wests Tigers
Mbye said Reynolds still had plenty to offer a NRL club despite a string of injuries since joining the Wests Tigers.
The 30-year-old has managed just nine NRL appearances games in 18 months since departing the Bulldogs in 2017.
"He's got his body right and played on the weekend and from all reports did well," Mbye said.
"He's definitely got something to offer but this time of the year is very tough for clubs because of salary cap and things like that.
"I'd love to see him fight his way back into the Tigers side but I just want him playing footy. He's a selfless bloke, the reason he gets this support is because he'd be doing the exact same thing for you."
Meanwhile, Mbye insists he's relishing a new-found love for the game after making a switch to the centres in June.
Why the Men of League Foundation matters
"It's been really enjoyable, I've probably played some more consistent footy over the last few weeks," Mbye said.
"I've been that utility guy for such a long time now, chopping and changing, and it's helped my footy. You learn the game from different views.
"We just weren't getting the results when I was at fullback here. We tinkered with a few things and are still a bit clunky but I think we've found a brand that suits out side."