WESTS Tigers coach Ivan Cleary has reignited calls for a transfer window after admitting the constant speculation around the future of embattled star Mitchell Moses is affecting his form.
Moses turned in arguably his worst performance of the season in the Tigers’ 28-8 loss to South Sydney on Friday night, missing a game-high seven tackles and failing to make a single run.
He was also the only player to concede multiple penalties and sent a second half restart out on the full, cruelling any hopes of a Tigers comeback at ANZ Stadium.
It comes after almost a month of hysteria surrounding his future, including multiple requests for a mid-season release to Parramatta.
Cleary took aim at a transfer market that has gone haywire as player managers look to take advantage of a collective bargaining agreement that has yet to resolve next year’s salary cap.
He claimed other NRL franchises had privately expressed their concern over the current player transfer system, but none more than the Concord-based club.
“Our club’s probably most influenced at the moment but certainly talking among other people within the game and other clubs, there’s a lot of players that are distracted,” Cleary said.
The former Warriors and Panthers mentor also believes the ongoing speculation isn’t necessarily healthy for the code.
“I think it actually affects the product. I’m not a fan of all this constant speculation actually helping the game,” Cleary said.
“It’s probably time that the game looked at sorting this out, or making it a better system. We’re not even halfway through the year yet. No doubt there’s plenty of players distracted.”
Cleary said the governing body could look at any number of alternatives.
“I think we’ve got to look at a few different ones. I don’t mind the transfer window whether you have two; one mid-season, one at the end, whatever,” he said.
“I understand that that kind of speculation’s good for fans but the fact that it’s a window and not the whole time, that would be something to look at.
“I just don’t think it’s healthy at the moment.”
The Tigers have been widely tipped to allow Moses to go to the Eels should the club receive compensation, possibly in the form of out-of-favour Warriors playmaker Tuimoala Lolohea.
But the Warriors have baulked at letting Lolohea depart mid-season, despite informing his manager they would consider releasing him from the final year of his contract in 2018.
Told the system wouldn’t be entirely to blame if the club agreed to let Moses go, Cleary said: “It is in a way because that wouldn’t happen if it was a different system, simple as that.”