NRL calendar crisis leaves game red-faced
They are the rugby league calendars that have become old before they were even new.
So far four teams have official 2019 NRL calendars for sale with front cover photos featuring star players who are no longer at the club.
It has left the game feeling slightly embarrassed.
In a sign of the times in rugby league, Penrith's calendar offers up a cover photo for forward Trent Merrin, who has departed the club for Leeds in England.
Brisbane forward Josh McGuire is there in full kit on page one of the Broncos calendar for 2019. He will be playing with North Queensland Cowboys next season.
Newcastle recruit David Klemmer is kitted out in blue and white on the front cover of Canterbury's 2019 calendar.
And the New Zealand Warriors have star halfback Shaun Johnson promoting their calendar. Problem is, Johnson was on Tuesday granted an immediate release to join a rival club.
And while Melbourne captain Cameron Smith is likely to stay at the Storm, he is yet to sign a new deal despite being the posterboy for their 2019 calendar.
Fans are being asked to pay $18.95 for an outdated calendar.
Confused punters on Wednesday asked Panthers general manager of football Phil Gould his thoughts on Johnson - along with plenty of others - leaving while still under contract.
"Get used to it," Gould replied on Twitter.
Gould suggested a draft could be a solution to the transfer madness.
"Just needs people with the courage to implement in," Gould posted. "Not just a bandaid solution, either. The real thing.
"However that ship had sailed. They had their chance."
Johnson will now shift to Australia and join a new club, with Cronulla early favourites.
"(It's an) interesting development. There's always a reason. We may never know what it is, but there's always a reason,' Gould said.
"If he's leaving now, it could only be the Sharks or the UK. Doubt anyone else has the money. Just guessing. I really don't know."
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