Roosters’ James Aubusson could join Dragons

Sydney Roosters hooker James Aubusson could be bound for the St George Illawarra Dragons next year.The Mercury understands Aubusson and his manager David Riolo have met Dragons officials about a possible move south for the 2011 NRL season.Aubusson, 23, is off contract at the end of this season and is keen on a shift to Wollongong. Full coverage of the Dragons With veteran rake Luke Priddis set to hang up his boots at the end of the year, the Dragons are interested in luring Aubusson to the club to fill the void.Aubusson, who has missed most of 2010 with an ankle injury, has attracted interest from several clubs, according to Riolo.When contacted by the Mercury yesterday, Riolo was reticent to comment on the situation.”I don’t like to get involved with player announcements,” he said. “That’s up to the clubs.”Aubusson, a lively dummy-half who made his debut for the Melbourne Storm in 2007, is in the final year of a three-year contract with the Roosters.His brother Mitchell recently re-signed with the tri-colours, but James is unlikely to remain a Rooster beyond the end of the season.Nathan Fien still has another two years left on his contract and is the obvious first-choice No 9 selection for 2011, but Aubusson is no stranger to coming off the bench.In his 55 first-grade appearances, the former Australian Schoolboy has started on the pine 40 times, coming on as an impact player.Mark Gasnier’s return has left the Dragons short on salary cap funds, forcing the likes of Jeremy Smith and Neville Costigan to move to rival clubs.But the release of those players not only frees up enough money to pay for Gasnier but would also cover Aubusson’s pending move.Jon Green, who was one of Wayne Bennett’s most consistent forwards during the representative period, is expected to become the latest victim of the squeeze.The Melbourne Storm will be desperate to attract several bargain buys ahead of 2011, and Green is one of the players on the club’s radar.Despite being keen to remain a Dragon, a less than substantial offer from the red and whites has left the prop with an important decision to make in the coming weeks.His manager Gavin Orr said the Dragons weren’t able to budge on their original offer.”The Dragons are in a situation where they can’t make any real offers to him because of the salary cap,” Orr said.”We’ve spoken to Craig Bellamy and the Storm are interested but in the end it is up to Jon and what he wants.”
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