Infotainment Factory: Star moved on as Storm resolves cap mess

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Thursday, 7 March 2019

Star moved on as Storm resolves cap mess


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Melbourne's salary cap situation is resolved and Cameron Smith is free to play round one after Sam Kasiano took up a three-year deal to join the Catalans Dragons in the English Super League.

Kasiano agreed to the deal late this week, with his arrival expected to be announced by the French club on Friday night.

The move guarantees Smith is free to play in next Thursday's season opener against Brisbane after speculation the club's cap issues could keep him out.

Kasiano still had two years to run on his deal at the Storm, believed to be worth around $600,000 a year.

Melbourne will still likely have to foot some of his bill to exit the club, but the move will bring them back under the cap ahead of round one.

Smith, who was the most recent player signed by Melbourne and could have therefore fallen victim of the last-man-in rule, had already sought assurances by the club's bosses this week he would be free to play.

"I've spoken to our CEO and he's very confident I'm going to be playing round one so that's all I need - his go-ahead that I'm going to be there," Smith said.

Kasiano's move comes despite late interest from St George Illawarra.

However it's understood uncertainty over the salary cap exemption rules - as well as the stood-down Jack de Belin's legal push to be able to play on - meant Kasiano preferred the French option.

Agents, clubs and recruiters are thought to still be unsure over the workings of the cap exemptions, as well as the consequences of a stood-down player's return on a newly-signed replacement.

St George coach Paul McGregor will now likely have to choose between Luciano Leilua and Jacob Host for a starting edge spot.

Kasiano played six Tests for New Zealand in 2012 and 2013 and had a cult following at Canterbury, where he was one of the hardest forwards to stop in the NRL, but played just 14 games for Melbourne last year.

Melbourne's salary cap situation is resolved and Cameron Smith is free to play round one after Sam Kasiano took up a three-year deal to join the Catalans Dragons in the English Super League.

Kasiano agreed to the deal late this week, with his arrival expected to be announced by the French club on Friday night.

The move guarantees Smith is free to play in next Thursday's season opener against Brisbane after speculation the club's cap issues could keep him out.

Kasiano still had two years to run on his deal at the Storm, believed to be worth around $600,000 a year.

Melbourne will still likely have to foot some of his bill to exit the club, but the move will bring them back under the cap ahead of round one.

Smith, who was the most recent player signed by Melbourne and could have therefore fallen victim of the last-man-in rule, had already sought assurances by the club's bosses this week he would be free to play.

"I've spoken to our CEO and he's very confident I'm going to be playing round one so that's all I need - his go-ahead that I'm going to be there," Smith said.

Kasiano's move comes despite late interest from St George Illawarra.

However it's understood uncertainty over the salary cap exemption rules - as well as the stood-down Jack de Belin's legal push to be able to play on - meant Kasiano preferred the French option.

Agents, clubs and recruiters are thought to still be unsure over the workings of the cap exemptions, as well as the consequences of a stood-down player's return on a newly-signed replacement.

St George coach Paul McGregor will now likely have to choose between Luciano Leilua and Jacob Host for a starting edge spot.

Kasiano played six Tests for New Zealand in 2012 and 2013 and had a cult following at Canterbury, where he was one of the hardest forwards to stop in the NRL, but played just 14 games for Melbourne last year.

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