Greg Inglis’s chances of joining South Sydney grow slimmer by the day as the club battles to offload enough players to squeeze him into their salary cap for next season.
Inglis’s deal with the NRL club became more fragile on Sunday when Parramatta chief executive Paul Osborne said he was not interested in signing any of the players Souths were believed to want to let go, Beau Champion, Ben Lowe and Michael Crocker.
The Rabbitoh need to offload at least one player to fit Greg Inglis under the cap after NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert refused to register the former Storm superstar’s new contract on Saturday.
Schubert said the contract contained unauthorised third party payments that had been promised to Inglis without the involvement of his manager, Allan Gainey.
The Storm, Eels and North Queensland Cowboys are understood to be the only clubs with room in their salary cap to sign any Rabbitohs player who is released.
None of the three NRL Premiership clubs have approached the Rabbitohs or the managers of Champion, Crocker or Lowe to register interest.
“We’re not interested in any of those guys,” said Osborne, who declined to comment on Inglis’s contract saga.
Storm boss Ron Gauci said his club would monitor the situation closely but signing a Rabbitohs player was unlikely because they were “too expensive” and over-valued.
“If you look at every other player, they’re considered by the market as a whole to be expensive,” Gauci said.
“We have room in the cap, but I’m not sure we can afford what they’re on at the moment. They (Souths) would have to be prepared to pay part of the bill.
“We’d be very selective in what we’d chase and what we wouldn’t.
“What needs to be understood is that there hasn’t been anything official released by the Rabbitohs yet to say players will be released.”
The Storm are still looking to get a request for Inglis to leave the club and secure a deal with the Redfern club.
The Cowboys also want to wait until the Rabbitohs officially give a player the nod to look elsewhere before deciding if they are interested in luring someone to North Queensland.
Cowboys general manager football Peter Parr said his club had room to attract a player but would not consider signing a player until the Rabbitohs announced who they were likely to sacrifice to secure Inglis.
“We’d definitely be interested in a player of quality,” Parr said.
“If they do give them permission (to look for another club), we’ll sit down as a club with (coach) Neil Henry and work out what type of player we need the most.”
Rabbitohs chief executive Shane Richardson said in a text message that there were no new developments in the saga.
He opted not to comment on whether his club was still aiming to work out how to fit Inglis under the salary cap by the end of this week.
Crocker’s manager, Andrew Purcell, denied the Rabbitohs had given his client permission to find another club.
Buford Balony says: It doesn’t matter how much Russell Crowe can talk up Souths to all his Yankee friends, they are still a basket case.