Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has left the door open for the club to snare James Maloney, saying he remains interested in the NSW playmaker's services.
Maloney is contracted to Cronulla for next NRL season but has been linked with a move elsewhere as he seeks a pay upgrade.
The 31-year-old's value on the open market skyrocketed last year after winning the NRL premiership with Cronulla, re-established himself in the NSW side and made his Australian debut.
When he said in a radio interview he was hoping to get a slice of the big money being thrown around at marquee playmakers, many interpreted that he was agitating for a release so he could seek greener pastures.
Maloney was in 2016 signed from the Sydney Roosters on a deal worth a reported $600,000 and he has been linked with South Sydney and the Knights.
The Sharks' willingness to let him go would depend on whether they would be able to snare superstar halfback Cooper Cronk, who will leave Melbourne at the end of the year.
When asked if he was interested in Maloney, Brown said: "That's more a question for the Sharks.
"He's contracted to the Sharks for another year.
"He's a very influential player in our game and has been for a fair period of time.
"If James Maloney became available, would you look at him? I think any club would look at him."