Wests Tigers have expressed interest in picking up out-of-favour Raiders centre Curtis Scott for an immediate move as Dale Copley prepares to make a surprise return at the Roosters.
With four days left to the NRL's August 2 mid-season trade deadline NRL.com understands that Canberra have fielded enquiries from Concord about an early release for Scott to join Michael Maguire's squad.
Scott is contracted at the Raiders until the end of 2023 but his future has been clouded for some time due to off-field incidents that have limited him to just 23 games in lime green during the past two years.
The 23-year-old centre has been serving his own individual quarantine in Canberra that is due to end on Friday after being left out of the Raiders' initial COVID-19 travelling party to Queensland.
Given the ACT's lack of COVID cases, Scott will not have to quarantine if he crosses the border into an NRL bubble as the majority of players exit their two-week hard quarantine this week.
Scott's availability in the short-term future is a factor in their interest given James Roberts' one-game suspension for a COVID-19 breach and Adam Doueihi's move back to five-eighth.
The Tigers are yet to take up a 2022 option in Roberts' contract with the club and have indicated they won't do so with a similar clause for Joey Leilua, opening up a potential spot for Scott.
Any move could well depend on Canberra contributing to Scott's salary given he has two years remaining on his contract, though the Raiders have been busy of late tying up young outside backs Xavier Savage, Sebastian Kris, Semi Valemei and Matt Timoko.
Broncos veteran Copley meanwhile is understood to be in line for an early release from Red Hill to link with the Roosters before next Monday's mid-season transfer deadline.
Copley has emerged as the Tricolours preferred choice in the player market after Manly's Jorge Taufua and Tevita Funa were both explored as potential immediate signings.
Copley played a season under Robinson in 2016, and with 146 NRL games to his name, offers experience out wide at a bargain basement price tag for the injury-hit Roosters.
Neither club has made an official comment on Copley's status but Robinson confirmed on Tuesday he was in the market for an outside back after long-term injuries to Brett Morris (retired), Billy Smith (foot), Joseph Suaalii (foot) and Matt Ikuvalu (ankle).
While Copley is being sized up for a short-term shift, the Roosters are manoeuvring their longer-term roster with extensions for Crichton and Manu the first priority before they are able to field rival offers from November 1.
Manu has been flagged as a Warriors recruitment target and is sure to attract interest elsewhere given his rise as an elite centre with the ability to play fullback and five-eighth as well.
Crichton meanwhile signed a one-year extension in April on the understanding the Roosters would come back to the table with a longer deal beyond 2022 once salary cap pressure had been eased.
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The early retirement of Boyd Cordner due to concussion issues has taken his estimated $700,000-plus salary from next year's cap, however his 2021 wage, along with that of fellow retirees Jake Friend and Morris, have all been included in the club's roster spending this season per NRL rules.
Isaac Liu's departure to the Gold Coast next season – on a three-year deal the Roosters could not compete with – is a pointer to the club's roster priorities amid suggestions powerhouse Tongan prop Siosiua Taukeiaho will also move on sooner rather than later.
Taukeiaho's agent Darryl Mather told NRL.com no early exit before his contract expires in 2022 had been broached by player or club on Wednesday.
Copley's imminent return to the Roosters will be on a traditional contract and not the short-term loan system that has been flagged to help teams see out the season while in their Queensland hubs.
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Warriors coach Nathan Brown indicated on Wednesday the club has already fielded short-term loan offers from "three or four clubs", but said he is hopeful rival players won't be required after several were used in 2021.
A raft of injuries and suspensions, compounded by the immediate releases of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Leeson Ah Mau to return to New Zealand, left the Warriors only able to name 20 players for Friday's clash with the Wests Tigers.
However the expected returns of Matt Lodge (suspension), Addin Fonua-Blake (finger), Jack Murchie (concussion) and Chanel Harris-Tavita (pec) next week has Brown confident he has the playing stocks to see out the season.
A push for player loans to be a permanent fixture in coming seasons from clubs and the RLPA is gaining in momentum, though several outfits contacted by NRL.com indicated they are unlikely to explore short-term moves at the moment.
Canberra for example have a surplus of experienced forwards with Ryan James and Dunamis Lui this week among their extended reserves this weekend, but they are reluctant to loan them out given they would potentially go to clubs they are competing against for finals spots.
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The Dragons are another side hit heavily by injuries and suspensions, with injured centre Brayden Williame filling out their 21-man team list this week.
But from next week the likes of Zac Lomax, Jack Bird, Josh McGuire, Jack de Belin, Daniel Alvaro and Blake Lawrie all return from suspension, easing the need for reinforcements.
"In our case we've already had three or four clubs that have already reached out to us to let us know that that option's there for us, which is great," Brown said, repeating previous calls for a permanent loan system to be introduced.
"In an ideal world though we'd like to play our own players.
"At the stage of the year that we're at, while some loan players might help us this year, the loan players can't help the development of our players for next year.
"So if we can field our own team with players we think are ready we'd rather do that. But if we have to loan a couple, we'll see how our injuries and luck goes over the next game or two."