Andrew Johns tells Cameron Munster to decide between ‘money and trophies’ as Melbourne Storm gun weighs up mega-money Dolphins offer – and Knights legend lifts lid on his own sliding doors moment in 2000
Andrew Johns has warned Cameron Munster to think carefully about his priorities before making a decision on his NRL future and revealed he once considered leaving Newcastle.
The Queensland and Australian five-eighth is under contract with the Melbourne Storm until the end of next season and may have to take a massive pay cut to remain at the club he has spent his entire NRL career at.
Earlier this week, Fox Sports reported he’s only been offered $750,000 a season on a three-year extension, a significant lower figure than the $1.2million he is set to make next year.
Andrew Johns has warned Cameron Munster to make a careful choice over his NRL future
The Dolphins have reportedly tabled a $1.2million to make the 27-year-old their marquee signing in 2024, but Johns has suggested Munster should consider his options before joining the NRL newcomers.
‘He’s got to decide what he wants to do – whether he wants to have more money and be at a club starting off, which without a doubt will struggle, or does he want to compete in semi-finals and a chance of winning premierships?,’ the New South Wales legend said on Wide World of Sports’ Immortal Behaviour on Friday.
Munster may satisfy his financial demands in Recliffe, but Johns insisted the NRL has historically proved a bigger pay packet does not necessarily translate into success.
There’s so many players who have chosen the money,’ he continued.
The Melbourne Storm five-eight is off contract at the end of the 2023 season
And has reportedly been offered a $1.2m deal to join Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins in 2024
‘The big one for me was when I watched Kevin Proctor, when he went from the Storm to Gold Coast, never played semi-finals and there were times when he looked so frustrated.’
Johns knows better than anyone else the allure of a significant pay rise, when he was offered to double his salary by swapping codes and switch to rugby union. He also admitted he considered leaving Newcastle for the Broncos in 2000, when Brisbane offered to increase his salary by $200,000.
‘I got offered a lot more to go to other clubs. I wasn’t driven by money, and I mean how much do you need?’ he said.
‘If you’re earning $800,00 a year, it’s huge money.
Johns admitted he considered leaving the Knights just once in his career
‘But over three of four years […] it adds up. You lose some happiness, you’ll lose some [money] in tax.’
Johns eventually remained in Newcastle, playing all of his 249 NRL games with the Knights and winning two premierships. However, he conceded there were testing times.
‘There were times when we struggled at Newcastle – one year we lost 13 in a row – and it was a chore going to training, because you knew you weren’t going to win,’ he added.
Munster (fourth from left) won three Premierships during eight seasons with the Storm
‘Turning up to training knowing you’re a chance of winning a premiership, or knowing you’re going to win, pushing yourself […] it has an effect.’
Munster has won three premierships with the Storm, but Melbourne have invested heavily in contract extensions for halfback Jahrome Hughes and hooker Harry Grant, who have penned four-year and three-year deals respectively.
Both players are understood to have been retained on million-dollar deals, leaving the Storm hamstrung by the NRL salary cap and unable to pay Munster what he wants.