Revealed: the NRL’s 12 hottest properties
Freedom day came a couple of weeks ago for most of Australia - but for NRL players and managers freedom day arrives on Monday.
November 1 is the date that allows players coming off contract at the end of 2022 to talk to rival clubs about signing for 2023 and beyond - and the feeding frenzy is about to begin.
With the Dolphins entering the premiership, prices are set to go through the roof in a bonanza for players and their handlers.
So who will be the players most in demand when player managers pick up the phone and start dialling clubs - and vice versa?
We have taken a look at the pick of the market - and come up with the 12 "most wanted".
Cody Walker - Will be 33 come 2023, but the Souths playmaker is a late bloomer who had his best ever season this year. Still got plenty of life in his 'old' legs and the priceless ability to lay on a try from nothing.
Brandon Smith - Despite a bit of a 'bad boy' reputation, is a superb player who thrives in the well drilled Storm attack. Could be the game's first million dollar a season hooker and will be chased by up to 10 clubs.
Angus Crichton - Made a shrewd move recently by extending for only one season at the Roosters, seeing him a free agent at just the right time. Fine attacking forward and a great role model off the field.
Joseph Manu - Regarded the best centre in the game and a player who is yet to reach his peak. Great role model - the Roosters don't lose many but could struggle to keep this guy.
Manase Fainu - Assuming his legal problems will finally be behind him in 18 months, the Manly hooker will be in great demand. Hookers are the new power players the way rugba league has evolved - and he is the best on the market after Smith.
Reed Mahoney - Isn't far behind Fainu in the dummyhalf stakes and is a machine in defence in the middle. The Eels are desperate to keep him - but clubs are queueing up to have a crack at the Parra workhorse.
Christian Welch - A key man in Craig Bellamy's ruthless Storm machine and a future first grade captain, he's the type of guy you want around your club. Tough in defence and carries the ball into the line without fear.
Chanel Harris-Tavita - Quality playmakers in the NRL are in short supply - and this kid from Kiwi-land is developing very nicely. Under the right coach, could become an elite number seven.
Ryan Matterson - Big, strong and versatile… he's the complete package as far as edge forwards go. Add good ball skills and a strong motor and it's easy to see why the Eels' forward is wanted by up to eight clubs.
Herbie Farnworth - If this kid was playing for the Storm and not the Broncos this year, he would have scored 20 plus tries. The English-born centre/winger was a big improver in 2021 and will only get better.
Isaiah Papali'i - without doubt the buy of 2021, he came to the Eels from the Warriors on a small contract and was outstanding. Everyone knows his true value now and he's set for a big payday in coming months.
Dylan Edwards - Has come from nowhere over the past two seasons to become one of the most consistent fullbacks in the NRL. The Panthers will struggle to hold him as he's after a big upgrade - and deserves it!
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