Cap squeezes Uate out of Manly
AKU Uate's manager Darryl Mather has confirmed the Fijian flyer won't be at Manly next season due to the salary cap but he remains confident the winger will continue his career in the NRL or England.
Mather said Sea Eagles officials formally told him Uate wasn't part of the club's plans beyond 2018 in a meeting a fortnight ago.
The former Knights star looked seriously at Penrith, including touring the club's facilities, but that door has closed following Josh Mansour's retention on a three-year deal.
This leaves Uate, who has recaptured his best form in recent years, without a club for next season.
"I can confirm that I was advised a mere two weeks ago, which is disappointingly late in the off-contract cycle, that Manly would not be in a position to renew terms with Aku," Mather said. "And given Aku has a wife and three young children this untimely news was doubly worrying."
Despite this, Mather is optimistic about securing another deal for the noted try scorer who has crossed for 18 tries since joining Manly last year.
"I have had two discussions with NRL clubs this week," Mather said.
"I would call them warm leads. There is a chance they could convert to serious discourse, but at this stage there is nothing firm on the table for Aku.
"We have had an English club reach out to us and we are seriously looking at that proposition as well.
"It's not ideal for Aku to leave Manly given his form, but we'll work on finding him a club because his form warrants another deal."
It's understood Manly are looking at signing fringe South Sydney winger Braidon Burns as a cheaper replacement for Uate.
Burns has only played one NRL game for the Rabbitohs this season after being relegated to the NSW Intrust Super Premiership ranks with North Sydney.
But the Dubbo-born back won't demand the same money as Uate, which will be advantageous for a Manly side working through its salary cap issues.
The Sea Eagles have lodged an appeal for the $750,000 fine and the $660,000 in salary cap restrictions imposed by the NRL after it emerged 15 former Sea Eagles players were paid $1.5 million above the salary cap over five years.