ANDREW VOSS has emerged a surprise contender to fill the advertised football manager position at Parramatta.
Voss has spent the past 18 years calling the game for Channel Nine but even though the future of the troubled network is clearer after yesterday's deal secured its financial future, the 46-year-old - like many of his commentary colleagues - is off contract at the end of the year.
Voss said his top priority was to sort out his future at Nine, which recently retained the free-to-air league broadcasting rights. ''I'll get back from holidays at the start of next month and have a look around to see what's going on,'' he said.
Voss recently settled a defamation case against fellow Nine commentator Ray Hadley out of court over comments surrounding the unveiling of the Ray Warren statue in Junee last year. As part of the six-figure settlement, Hadley had to read out an apology on his 2GB breakfast show, admitting the ''criticisms were unwarranted''. Considered by some as the game's best caller behind Warren, Voss has been relegated to Queensland Cup duty for much of the season. Insiders believe his decision to litigate is partly behind his demotion.
As revealed in The Sun-Herald, another high-profile media identity is in the mix for the Parramatta post. Canterbury stalwart Graeme Hughes, now a broadcaster on 2SM, is also on the shortlist. Ironically, there has been speculation that Hughes and Voss could join forces as callers should a consortium of 2SM and 2UE win the radio rights. The ARL Commission is in the process of deciding whether to award the rights to incumbents, Triple M and 2GB, whose commentary team is led by Hadley, or to move in another direction.
Other contenders for the football manager position include former Cronulla boss Tony Zappia and former Manly and Warriors powerbroker Graham Lowe. An official from a rival club has also applied, although it's unclear whether Steve Noyce is interested after parting company with the Roosters.
Meanwhile, former Eels coach Brad Arthur has firmed as the favourite to replace Matt Parish as assistant coach at Manly. Andrew Johns will continue to work with the Sea Eagles in some capacity but not as a full-time assistant to Geoff Toovey.
Last year's premiers are under salary cap pressure and will need to offload at least one player. There has been widespread speculation that Brent Kite could move on, particularly after Wests Tigers expressed interest. However, the former NSW and Australian prop is now likely to stay put. ''There's a 99.9 per cent chance he will stay,'' said Kite's manager Daryl Mather.
Cameron Smith has capped a stellar season by being named international player of the year. Smith won a premiership with the Storm and also lifted trophies with Queensland and Australia. Craig Bellamy won the coaching gong.