Paul Kent believes Roosters halfback Luke Keary’s unfortunate latest concussion has cast doubt on his future at the club and revived the Tri-colours’ ties to Cameron Munster.
Keary has a history of concussions and fears he won’t be able to withstand many more before he’s forced to retire.
Kent believes Keary’s future in the NRL is uncertain at best and asked Munster’s manager Braith Anasta about his star client’s potential ties to the Roosters.
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“Can your boy start with the Roosters now, Cameron Munster?” Kent asked Anasta on NRL 360.
“I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything,” Anasta replied.
“There has been no contact at all.”
“Well, you have to ask the question,” Kent said.
“Come on, just share it with me.”
“There has been no contact and Cameron wants to stay in Melbourne and we have to wait until November,” said Anasta.
Keary 30 has been signed to the Roosters until the end of 2024 and given his history of headbutts, it seems likely that this will be his last contract in the rugby league.
Bold as it may seem, Kent believes the reality is that Keary may not even get to see that contract, meaning the club will have to start looking for a replacement at some point.
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“I don’t know, I haven’t talked to anyone about it,” Anasta replied.
“If they’re concerned, they’re going to market for a blue chip half because they’re not wasting time. Are they the roosters?”
Kent reminded Anasta that the Roosters were recently associated with making a play for Munster, but he denied any discussions had taken place.
“Well, just six or eight weeks ago there was speculation that the roosters were trying to clear the decks and put on a play in Munster,” Kent said.
“That was a rumor,” Anasta said.
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“I know and you clearly said you haven’t had any contact,” Kent said.
“Still not,” Anasta replied.
Paul Crawley supported Kent that the Roosters are not a club to sit on their hands and will try to bring in the best possible replacement if Keary’s career is cut short.
“The Roosters have a history when they have to solve a problem, they don’t go out to pick the fourth or fifth best halfback,” Crawley said.
“They are trying to find the best option for them and given the long term future of Sam Walker will be as No.7, they would be looking for a No.6.”
However, Dave Riccio pointed out that the Roosters may have a solution to replace Keary already in their books.
“And Joey Manu,” Riccio said.
“He’s just not Cameron Munster?”
“There’s nothing wrong with Joey Manu, but he’s also a great center,” said Kent.
“They already have Manu.”
“What about Joseph Suaalii to the centers?” said Riccio.
“They have some options,” Anasta replied.
On Tuesday, Keary was named to play against the Eels in round 15, but given his history of concussion and the Roosters one of the leading clubs in player welfare when it comes to headbutts, Crawley doubts he will play.
“I’d be shocked if he played,” Crawley said.
“He looked sad when he left the field last night. We all know the history. Everyone wishes him the best.
“There is no doubt that Luke has had some bad times with punches in the past and it leads to this discussion that for the rest of the year people will be watching to see how Luke handles it.
“He’s the oldest half of the club and if he’s not playing it’s a big problem for the Roosters.”
Kent believes Keary struggled with the reality of his last blow to the head as he left the field and what this could mean for his future.
“I think when you saw him at this point (coming off the field), I don’t think he’s suffering from the headbutt at that point,” Kent said.
“I think the reality of, I just had another hit him and he walks away and thinks what this means to me.”
Anasta revealed that Keary has been thinking about his long-term future when it comes to concussion for a while now.
“Luke has been openly concerned about it for a long time, so he has some decisions to make,” said Anasta.
“It’s going to be a tough time for him again.”
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