Back-ended contracts at Manly forced Glenn Stewart and Kieran Foran out of the club five years ago, so Tom Trbojevic knows the kind of pressure the Sea Eagles have felt in the past to try to keep a roster together.
After winning the 2008 and 2011 NRL premierships, Manly did everything to try to retain their stars, even after losing then coach Des Hasler following their 2011 grand final triumph over the Warriors.
In 2015 there was a clean-out of up to 20 players across all grades to free up cap space. In March last year the NRL fined the club $750,000, suspended two officials, and deducted $660,000 from their salary cap spread over two seasons (2018-19) for breaches over five years.
Hasler has returned to the northern beaches and all eyes will be on how he and the Sea Eagles board attempt to keep the Trbojevic brothers Jake and Tom in maroon-and-white before they come off contract in 2020.
Other clubs are eligible to approach them from November 1 this year.
Most clubs have rejected heavy back-ended deals – paying the salary in increasing instalments each year – because of the log-jam it can create financially. But many limit the annual increases to a small percentage.
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"I guess you want to steer clear of them. They can put teams under a lot of pressure," Trbojevic said on Tuesday.
"I've still got a long time left here."
Considering he is 15 months away from ending his current deal with the Sea Eagles, Trbojevic is surprised there is talk already. But his club form and input into the NSW Blues Holden State of Origin win means he'd better get used to answering questions about it. He is also a Test team incumbent.
"Look I really enjoy playing at this club. I hadn't expected the talk to come on this early," he said.
"We've got the rest of this year and another year at this club. Hopefully we'll be able to extend that further."
At least he is keeping a sense of humour about things.
As he was speaking, Daly Cherry-Evans sauntered past on his way to play a little basketball with teammates.
"It's not about money for us," Trbojevic said.
Cherry-Evans interjected, mimicking the brothers: "But we love the money".
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"Can I get on record where that came from?" Trbojevic said pointing to his club captain, as the pair broke into laughter.
"One player in our club has got it all."
Cherry-Evans was poised to leave the club for the Titans in 2015 – the same year as Foran announced he was going. But the No.7 reneged and signed a $10 million, eight-year extension to stay at Manly.
And with that in mind, Cherry-Evans took the questions seriously about whether Manly should look at another long-term deal to retain the Trbojevics.
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"Job security is one of the hardest things to come by in rugby league for players and coaches. If you can get it, then that's great,' Cherry-Evans said.
"The only people who speak poorly about it, if I'm honest, are the jealous ones.
"As a teammate of Jake and Tom, I'd love to see them here for as long as they're able to play the game of rugby league.
"They're great players; great teammates; great friends of mine. Obviously I'm flying the flag for them to stay as long as they possibly can."