Su’a wary of Souths cap pressure as contract talks kick off

Su'a wary of Souths cap pressure as contract talks kick off. Picture: NRL

BRISBANE, 07 APRIL 2021 (NRL) – Off-contract Queensland forward Jaydn Su’a concedes the club’s salary cap pressure could affect his negotiations as he plays toward the mantra that “Souths won’t lose a player they want to keep.”

NRL.com understands extension talks with Su’a’s management have started recently as the bone-rattling back-rower looks to shore up his future beyond 2021.

Su’a has found a new lease on life after following Wayne Bennett from Brisbane midway through 2019, playing all three Origins under him in the Maroons’ stirring series win last year.

His rise as a representative back-rower means a similar financial bump is on the cards.

But the 23-year-old is also well aware of the ongoing contract stand-off with captain Adam Reynolds and the uncertainty around fellow Queensland star Dane Gagai.

South Sydney’s increasingly tight purse strings and their need to tie up an emerging crop of outstanding juniors has Reynolds, and now Gagai, on the open market in search of long-term deals.

Su’a can’t rule out a similar scenario, though his priority is to stay put at Redfern amid recent links to Manly.

“I’m really enjoying my footy and I bleed red and green now,” Su’a told NRL.com leading into Thursday’s clash with his old Broncos teammates.

“I haven’t spoken to my manager for a couple of weeks. I told him I want to find some form first [before talking contracts].

“I love this club but whatever happens, happens. I know with the stuff going on with Reyno, it can make you worried. It does.

“But at the end of the day it’s a business and Souths won’t lose a player they want to keep.

“So if that’s me, then that’s me and I’d be happy to stay.

“But if it’s not, if they want to keep Reyno, and I know Gags [Gagai] is off as well, then that’s just the way things go.

“I didn’t even know about Manly [reportedly being interested] until I saw it in the paper so I don’t know how true that is.

“All I can do is play my footy and hopefully find some form, then all that other stuff sorts itself out.”

Su’a has long been on South Sydney’s radar, knocking back a lucrative approach when Anthony Seibold was at the helm in 2018, only to end up as collateral damage when Bennett and Seibold traded clipboards by the end of that season.

The Broncos junior ended up taking a Rabbitohs deal in 2019 that was six figures short of that original approach each season, and eventually fought his way back from reserve grade to representative honours.

Along the way Su’a has forged a reputation as one of the NRL’s heaviest hitters.

Bulldogs prop Ofahiki Ogden was all too aware midway through last week’s Good Friday clash, copping the left shoulder that Su’a’s father Daniel weaponised with years of backyard drills and a dusty blue tackling bag.

“My old man was into me because it had been a couple of weeks since I put a shot on,” Su’a grinned afterwards.

“He told me ‘I’m sick of asking you, can you get a big hit today’. I saw the play coming a little bit and went looking for the shot and landed it, I get pretty lucky sometimes.

“At a young age I was on the receiving end of all those hits. I was the one getting pumped and thrown around.

“My old man taught me his technique he used to use back in his day and around 15 or 16 I started to become known for putting on shots. All credit to Dad for that.

“I used to land a few in rugby union when I was at school. But I also got my fair share of yellow cards too, so all credit can go to Dad as well for that.”

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