The Sharks are poised to announce a two-year extension for Ronaldo Mulitalo as early as this week with the star winger teasing some “big news” is on it’s way.
Mulitalo’s current contract doesn’t expire until the end of 2023 but he and the club have entered talks to get a deal done well before the 22-year-old can field offers from rivals on November 1.
The Kiwi international confirmed to foxsports.com.au that he is chasing a two-year extension with the Sharks and wants to put pen to paper before the finals.
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And he is hopeful the extensions of fellow backs Will Kennedy, Siosifa Talakai, Sione Katoa and Jesse Ramien — who has begun talks with the club — will follow.
It comes after News Corp reported the five players were aware they may have to accept less money to stay in the Shire given the Sharks’ cap will be stretched to keep them all.
Mulitalo told foxsports.com.au on Monday that and he and his four “best mates” have kept the mantra “memories over money” in the back of their minds throughout talks with the Sharks.
“We spoke about it, us back five, we’re all best mates and that’s what’s good about it. We’ve won comps in juniors and reserve grade, so we can have that honest conversation with each other,” he said.
“We’re not naive to the fact that the market is there, but for us, money can’t buy memories.
“We’re also not naive about the fact that money is a problem at the moment, but we’ve just got to find a way to get it done and keep ourselves together to try and create something special.
“Now the question really is do we want to be a part of something special and if that is the case then I think we know what needs to happen for that to happen.
“All the boys have got families — they all have kids except for me — but I’ve got my own priorities.
“We know that it’s going to be hard for the club to keep everyone… we’re trying to make sure everyone gets a piece of the pie.
“You don’t really want to take a big pay cut, you don’t play this game for long but we’ve spoken about memories over money.
“Whatever those boys decide, it’s totally up to them, but speaking on my own behalf, I see something special here, (so) I’d rather take $20,000-$30,000 less to play in a successful team.”
Asked when he wants his new contract sorted, Mulitalo said: “Ideally before finals.
“I know that’s real soon… Who knows, there might be some big news this week,” he added.
“I can’t speak for the other boys but I’m pretty confident we can get something done — I think we’re pretty close.”
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The luxury of being wanted by the club is not lost on Mulitalo, who said he feels “really privileged to even be having a conversation about extending.”
But after becoming one of the competition’s premier wingers he is now in a position to ask the big questions before signing — rather than taking whatever he can get.
“I think my first question was who was staying and what’s happening with ‘Fitzy’ (coach Craig Fitzgibbon),” Mulitalo said in regards to his priorities going forward.
“We speak about the club and where it’s been the last couple of years, I just feel like we didn’t have that stability throughout the club so I wanted to be assured that first before anything.
“The second thing was my family back home, I want to be able to put them in a good financial position as well and put my mum in a proper house so that comes into it as well.
“There were a lot of factors that went into it, I wanted to make sure I had the right people around me.”
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Ramien told foxsports.com.au that he’d “love to stay” as he and his partner “love the club” and “have built a good life here.”
But his deal likely won’t be finalised until the summer, with the 25-year-old’s focus solely on finals.
“We’ve been in talks, in early stages, but in terms of having a deadline to sign it’s probably just before next season would be ideal,” Ramien said.
“I like to put it in the back pocket going into finals. I want to put all of my attention into the back end of the year for us.
“Once we get to the off-season I’ll jump in and focus on it more.”