The St George Illawarra Dragons have today granted Brett Morris a release from the final season of his playing contract.
Morris and his management requested the early release from the final year of his existing contract for financial and family reasons.
This will enable Morris to take-up the opportunity to play alongside his brother at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for a long-term period commencing in 2015.
“It is with great disappointment that we announce that the Dragons Board & Football Management have agreed to grant the early release personally requested by Brett,” said Dragons CEO Peter Doust.
“It is something that we have been discussing for some time as we wanted to upgrade and extend Brett to see him play his entire career at the Dragons, however, for a player like Brett, who has given so much to the Dragons, both Football Management and the Board did not think it ‘right’ to deny his request.
“Brett requested a release as the financial returns on offer were significant compared to what the Dragons had tabled for a similar period and he has a desire to again play with his twin brother.”
Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor whilst equally disappointed so too respected Morris' decision and objectives for the final years of his career.
“Brett has been an important part of our team for many years so it is less than desirable to ever hear a player of his calibre make this type of decision,” said McGregor.
“However, while I am disappointed, I do respect his decision and making him stay, at least until the end of next season when he wanted to be somewhere else, was not the right outcome for anyone.
“I have personally known Brett since he was a child and we have formed a great friendship over the years so I understand how hard this decision has been for him and his family.
"As a Club, we tried hard to find a suitable outcome for both parties but we were not in the position to meet Brett's financial expectations over the long-term.
“I also know how extremely close the twins are and why this is also important to Brett.”
Morris admitted it that it was a difficult decision to make but is thankful to the Club for allowing him this opportunity.
“I am grateful to the Football Management and the Board for allowing me to take the opportunity to play alongside my twin brother Josh next year” said Morris.
“It was not an easy decision and I would like to especially thank the Red V Members and fans, my teammates and coaches for all of their support during my time at the Club.
“I would also like to thank Paul McGregor for understanding and respecting my position.
“Paul has my full support and I have the upmost respect for what he has done and will implement at the Club.”
Doust acknowledged the speculation in relation to the Club's salary cap for 2015 indicating that releasing Morris was not an option for the Club.
“The Club has been very open about its position in relation to the salary cap as well as the ongoing football review being conducted assessing the first-grade playing squad and overall structure of the Football Department for next season," said Doust.
“As with many clubs, there are always elements to be worked on and resolved.
"Whilst there has been speculation in regards to our salary cap for 2015, I want to make it very clear that moving on Brett was not one of the Club’s objectives nor was it one of its plans.
“Whilst we are disappointed that this is Brett’s decision, we sincerely thank him for his service to our Club and wish him well for his future.”