Luke Brooks is not Ivan Cleary’s son, but having different bloodlines won’t stop him wanting to be part of the Wests Tigers’ NRL family for life.
Brooks admits he’s heard all the talk of Ivan and Penrith rival Nathan Cleary wanting to team up in the future, despite both playmakers owning contracts with their clubs for two more years.
“Players come and go at any second. They sign to another club when they’ve got another year to go at the club they’re at. It’s crazy, but that’s the way it is now,” Brooks has told AAP.
Since Brooks’ anticipated debut in 2013, the Tigers have long viewed the local junior and childhood prodigy as their long-term halfback.
But, recent speculation of the Clearys linking up at Concord has twice forced Ivan to reassure Brooks that the club will honour the rest of his deal.
“They were saying stuff at the end of last year, so he told me about how it’s being spoken about in the media and not to worry about it,” Brooks says.
“Again, there was a bit of chat at the start of pre-season so he just reassured me. To be honest, there’s no point worrying about what I can’t control. If it happens, it happens.”
What the 23-year-old can control is his opportunity to finally deliver on his potential, which could force the club in a difficult position once both he and Nathan are up for new deals.
While rival clubs are prohibited from negotiating with players until the final year of their contract, talks between Nathan and the Panthers on an extension have been postponed.
Brooks – the only player remaining out of the Tigers’ previous ‘big four’ of Aaron Woods, James Tedesco and Mitchell Moses – hasn’t given up on being a one-club player.
“Even though it’s a business, I think it’s good to have long-term goals. For me, I see myself staying at this club – or I want to,” he said.
“You never know – anything can happen. It can change in a couple of weeks. It’d be ideal for me to stay at this club, but you’ve got to keep all your options open.”
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