Super 14
Hoiles' Rebels contract offer withdrawn
April 26, 2010
The Brumbies' Stephen Hoiles stretches the Sharks' defence, brumbies v Sharks, Super 14, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia, March 12, 2010
The Brumbies' Stephen Hoiles was mulling over a contract that has fallen victim to the controversy at the Melbourne Rebels © Getty Images

Melbourne Rebels have been forced to withdraw their contract offer to Brumbies captain Stephen Hoiles amid the fallout from the Melbourne Storm controversy.

The new Super 15 franchise had offered the No.8 a contract with a view to moving from Canberra to Melbourne, but having set a deadline of Tuesday for the player to decide, they took the contract off the table. The offer is reported to have been supported by a legitimate third party investment and was withdrawn on the same day that disgraced chief executive Brian Waldron resigned after his involvement in a rugby league salary cap scam was revealed.

Hoiles told The Australian, "With all the recent drama it has formally been withdrawn. I'm hoping to re-sign with the Brumbies. It's a couple of weeks away."

Hoiles' preference was reportedly to remain with the Brumbies, while an offer from French giants Stade Francais was also believed to be on the table.

The Rebels have yet to play a match, but are already the subject of controversy after Waldron was forced to step down. He was previously chief of the Melbourne Storm rugby league franchise, who were found to have two seperate sets of books which helped them recruit highly paid players while staying within the NRL salary cap.

Now the ARU have stepped in to assist the Rebels, who have signed up international stars such as England fly-half Danny Cipriani, and make sure that their deals will stay within the cap. "It makes sense in terms of good corporate governance to ensure all contracting protocols are in accordance with ARU protocols," an ARU spokesman said.

"We've had indications from the Rebels that they would like to work with us in ensuring there is no room for innuendo or speculation. It would not be appropriate for the ARU to comment on issues the NRL are dealing with. However, the issue for all sports is how to deal with third party agreements is to assure compliance and risk-management processes are adequate. It's incumbent on us all to make sure our backyards are tidy. It goes to the fundamental issue of reputation and integrity."

Meanwhile, Rebels coach Rod MacQueen has confirmed his side won't capitalise on the Storm's difficulties by poaching any of their players.

The franchises have an agreement in place and the former Wallabies coach says as things stand it they would keep to it. The Rebels have been linked with a move for Billy Slater, but MacQueen rubbished that speculation. ''Until such time that it's made very clear that they may not survive, we intend to honour that obligation," he told The Age.

''To be quite frank with you we said at the start when we came down here that we didn't see ourselves as opposition to the Storm and we wouldn't be looking at their players for that reason and we are still sticking to that. Just because they are going through some troubled times we certainly will not be going out after their players. We want to survive together in Melbourne and from our perspective we're still honouring that. 'That will be our policy until otherwise discussed and I feel very comfortable with it.

''The reality is in all of these things is that the rumours are out there all the time. It's been interesting from our perspective to see how many players are actually linked to the Rebels. There would be only a very small percentage of those who are correct.''

MacQueen also confirmed the franchise's interest in Stade Francais star Mark Gasnier, but he said the former NRL player faces a difficult decision.

''He's got a decision to make - whether to come back to Australian rugby or whether to stay - obviously he's going to get more money if he stays in France,'' Macqueen said. ''We've said that we would like if Mark came to Australia we'd certainly like him to be with the Rebels.''


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