Rugby League

Glen Buttriss and Canberra Raiders rejected loan proposal from Sydney Roosters

Canberra Raiders hooker Glen Buttriss.
Canberra Raiders hooker Glen Buttriss. Photo: Matt Bedford

Raiders hooker Glen Buttriss has revealed the Sydney Roosters sought him out for a bizarre loan contract that could have seen him start the NRL season in Bondi before returning to Canberra mid-year.

The 29-year-old rake also predicted most NRL teams would be forced to carry two hookers in their 17-man squad each week if referees go through with a mandate to speed up the ruck in 2015.

Despite playing every game for the Raiders last year in a season he rates his best, Buttriss admits he faces huge competition to retain his starting role after the club signed England representative Josh Hodgson and continues to groom Josh McCrone as a cover for nine.

The Raiders released another hooker, Matt McIlwrick, to the Roosters this season, but only after initially rejecting a unique loan proposal that would have resembled soccer's transfer window.

Looking for an injury replacement for Jake Friend, who is expected to miss up to the first 10 rounds of 2015 because of a shoulder reconstruction, the Roosters asked the Raiders about loaning Buttriss or McIlwrick for the first half of the season. The player would then be free to return to Canberra before the June 30 transfer deadline.

The Raiders rejected the proposal and only agreed to release McIlwrick in December, when the Roosters offered the 23-year-old the security of a full-season deal.


It's not uncommon for NRL players to start the season with one club and switch to another, but a loan arrangement where the player returns to his contracted club mid-season would be unique.    

Buttriss, who says he wants to earn a new contract and be a Raiders player for life, admitted it would have been "awkward".

"It was kind of weird when [coach Ricky Stuart] came up and talked to me about it," Buttriss said. "Even he thought it was a bit strange. [The Raiders] said no straight away. It would be going and playing 10 rounds there, even though I'm contracted with Canberra. It would have been a pretty awkward situation.

"Hopefully I can stay here for a couple more years, it'd be great to finish my career in Canberra and be a one-club player, but you never know these days. Fingers crossed I can stay."

Buttriss will launch his season at the Auckland Nines this weekend and the speed of the condensed format could be a good indication of the NRL season to come.

Officials are warning clubs they will be cracking down on holding tackles to speed up the ruck in 2015.

NRL referees visited Raiders training earlier this month to work with the club on the new interpretations.

"The game's already quick enough, so when we heard they were trying to speed it up a bit more around the ruck I was a bit shocked because the game's already quick," Buttriss said.

"They showed us how they're going to police the ruck. If it goes to plan, how they've got it set up, it's going to be good for the hookers, it should be an advantage. There should be plenty of quick play-the-balls.

"I think most of the clubs will carry two hookers, just the way the ruck is, they'll be doing a lot of work."

Having debuted in 2008, last year was the first time Buttriss avoided injury and played every match. Although he is off-contract at the end of the year, he was confident after completing his first full-preseason in three years.

"This year I've been doing everything so I've put on a bit more size and I'm feeling stronger," Buttriss said.

"I think last year was the best season I've had in the NRL, I got through the whole season and played every game, I hadn't done that since 2008. In saying that it's a new season and there's plenty of competition so I'm going to have to lift another gear or two if I want to cement a spot there, even coming off the bench or starting."