The Canberra Raiders have shown they won't be used as a bargaining chip, ending negotiations with in-demand Sydney Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves when he failed to meet a deadline.
The Raiders pulled a lucrative multi-year contract off the table after the 25-year-old New Zealand international did not confirm his intention to move to the national capital.
Waerea-Hargreaves was spotted having dinner with his partner at a restaurant on the Kingston Foreshore on December 6 and spent last weekend in Canberra, checking out the city.
The Raiders appeared to have produced an offer that was too good to refuse but, with Waerea-Hargreaves missing their deadline, he now looks likely to remain with the Roosters.
The Raiders have been burnt in the past when it came to recruiting in-demand targets.
Melbourne Storm forward Kevin Proctor and Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco both signed with the Raiders only to renege and remain at their current clubs.
Waerea-Hargreaves is under contract with the Tricolours for next season, but is set to be one of the marquee names to hit the open market for 2016 and beyond.
He is one of the toughest front-rowers in the competition and, at 25, has his best years ahead of him.
The Raiders have been proactive in stepping up their aggressive recruiting campaign in a bid to once again becoming a force in the NRL after missing the finals for the past two years.
They have already added former Roosters prop Frank-Paul Nu'uausala on a three-year deal, Melbourne Storm winger Sisa Waqa, Wests Tigers utility Blake Austin and England international Josh Hodgson.
The Raiders have freed up some money on their salary cap by releasing Terry Campese to the UK Super League, although a portion of his wage will remain on Canberra's books in 2015.
They are also looking to bolster their front row after the retirement of Brett White and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs' move to the Storm.
Waerea-Hargreaves has played 118 NRL games since his debut with the Manly Sea Eagles in 2009 and 17 Tests for New Zealand.