Manly facing race to re-sign Jake and Tom Trbojevic before they go on open NRL market October 5, 2016 7:00pm DEAN RITCHIE MANLY are racing the clock to re-sign Jake and Tom Trbojevic in a $4.5 million package deal before the superstar brothers go on to the NRL open market in just 25 days. The Daily Telegraph can reveal the Sea Eagles have been forced to shed several players, including utility Jamie Buhrer, to ensure there is sufficient money in the club’s salary cap to retain the Trbojevics. Manly fans took to social media questioning Buhrer’s exit but club officials are acutely aware Tom and Jake are free agents on November 1, when rival NRL clubs can approach players who are off-contract after the 2017 season. Rival clubs have already started discussing ways to lure the Trbojevic brothers, who would come as a package. The Sea Eagles have started negotiating dual three-year deals and club officials are confident of retaining the pair before November 1. It shapes as a bumper free agency period with the likes of Wests Tigers stars Aaron Woods, James Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses all off contract, as well as Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds and South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds. A number of players have so far been reluctant to sign deals beyond next season as they await the NRL’s decision on the salary cap increase. Manly are clear favourites to re-sign the pair, who are already genuine NRL stars and are knocking on the door of representative football. The Trbojevics are local juniors and it’s understood they want to remain at Brookvale. Desperate clubs however will try and tempt the brothers with rich offers to quit the peninsula. Manly have already offloaded Buhrer to Newcastle this week, while the playing futures of fullback Brett Stewart (knee) and centre Steve Matai (neck) remain uncertain. Winger Jorge Taufua has another year remaining on his contract but may attract interest from rival clubs. The Trbojevics would accept equal pay of about $750,000 a season. Tom has already been touted as a State of Origin player for 2017 while Jake has just returned from Papua New Guinea where he represented the Prime Minister’s XIII. Buhrer had a year to run on his Manly deal but has now picked-up a two-year contract at Newcastle to shore-up his immediate future. Manly want to build their club around the Trbojevics, in the same way they did with Brett and Glenn Stewart 13 years ago. Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett paid tribute to Buhrer. “Jamie Buhrer has been a terrific player for Manly in his 128 first grade games and this opportunity gives him a chance to extend his career at a new club,” Barrett said. In a swap for Buhrer, Manly signed former NSW winger Akuila Uate. Newcastle will still pay a fair chunk of Uate’s contract. Uate was a superstar a few years ago and could be spectacular signing if Manly can rediscover his best form. “Aku has been a wonderful player over many years and a holds a proud record at our club,” said Knights CEO Matt Gidley. “He is a tremendous character of the game and had a special affiliation with the fans. We acknowledge this has been a difficult process.” Uate said: “I know this is the best decision for my family and we look forward to new opportunities.” Manly have already signed Melbourne grand final five-eighth Blake Green and Warriors forward Shaun Lane for next season.