The Wests Tigers have released centre Esan Marsters from the final year of his contract, effectively immediately, with the Kiwi international set to join the North Queensland Cowboys.
NRL.com understands Marsters’s manager approached the Wests Tigers a couple of months ago about the potential to upgrade his contract for 2020.
The Tigers decided against upgrading the contract and allowed the centre to test his value on the market.
He has since travelled to the Cowboys to meet club officials and has been granted a release. He is set to join the Townsville club next season.
The Tigers, who have been criticised for paying overs for players in the past, are hellbent on ensuring history doesn’t repeat itself and were not willing to match what the Cowboys were willing to pay.
Marsters gets married on Friday, with coach Michael Maguire expected to be in attendance such is the relationship between player and coach.
Maguire recently met Dragons rising star Zac Lomax and Marsters's departure could open the door for the Tigers to pounce if St George Illawarra release him.
The Tigers are expected to put their faith in young gun Tommy Talau, while the Cowboys get the much-needed boost to their back line they were after.