Arrow faces $600k pay cut to remain a Titan
Titans culture-and-performance chief Mal Meninga says he will not engage in a bidding war for Jai Arrow as the Queensland Origin ace faces a $600,000 sacrifice to remain on the Gold Coast.
Wary of the $1 million-a-season investment in halfback Ash Taylor that has put pressure on the Titans' salary cap, Meninga is being fiscally prudent in his strategy to retain Arrow in the face of cashed-up Sydney raids.
The pursuit of Arrow is intensifying with South Sydney to meet with his manager David Riolo to formally table a multimillion-dollar package worth up to $850,000 annually from 2021 onwards.
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Rival clubs Cronulla, Wests Tigers, the Dragons and Newcastle are also watching the Arrow contract situation closely.
The Titans are determined not to lose Arrow but Meninga is also mindful not to break the bank to retain the 24-year-old, as the Gold Coast learn painful lessons from the $3 million deal handed out in 2017 to Taylor, who has since struggled for form.
The Titans recently tabled a beefed-up offer to Arrow as evidence of his worth to the club, but the Maroons ironman could still earn an extra $150,000 per season in Sydney - a $600,000 bonanza over a four-year term.
Arrow, off-contract next year, is expected to finalise his future in the next fortnight and Meninga hopes the tough-tackling forward considers more than just his bank balance.
"I'll be honest, the money for Jai is greater elsewhere," Meninga said.
"I believe Jai wants to stay and we are working our way through it.
"Jai and his partner (Taylah) have to make a decision with his manager David Riolo on what is best for him. Jai has mentioned several times he and Taylah are a team and they will do what's best for them.
"Obviously, we want Jai to stay, but we won't be getting into a bidding war."
Arrow is understood to be torn over his future.
He has family on the Gold Coast and has not forgotten the opportunity to play regular NRL at the Titans, who turned him into an Origin star after Arrow struggled to break through at his former club the Broncos.
But Arrow also has a thirst for a premiership ring and sustained success, with the competitor in him left deeply disappointed with the Titans' wooden-spoon finish last season.
Meninga is adamant Titans bosses have valued Arrow accurately in accordance with the salary-cap pressures that confront every NRL club.
"We've offered Jai a deal until the end of 2024 and we feel it's a good offer. He is already signed for 2020," Meninga said.
"At the end of the day, we can't match what Sydney clubs are offering and the danger is if we get into a bidding war, it could cost us the opportunity to keep some other local kids.
"We have to manage our salary cap wisely."