Pearson: Ball now in Tom Briscoe's court after Hull FC three-year contract offer
TOM Briscoe will have to turn down an astronomical three-year contract with Hull FC if he is to leave for Australia.
The England international is out of contract at the end of the forthcoming season and has been linked with a switch Down Under.
Hull will not let that happen without a fight, having tabled an offer which has left the winger with a difficult decision to make.
Briscoe has spoken openly in the past about his desire to test himself in the NRL at some stage of his career.
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Linked with a number of sides in the NRL, Briscoe's Australian-based agent David Riolo claims three clubs have shown a genuine interest in the 23-year-old.
Hull won't let their winger go easily, however, and have offered Briscoe a three-year deal which sources say took Briscoe by surprise.
"We have made a really good, three-year offer to Tom and we have left it in his hands," said Pearson.
"We are not going to put him under any pressure. We are very keen for him to stay and we think a lot of him, which has been reflected in the offer made to him.
"He is a young boy and if he wants to go to Australia then this probably is the time for him to go.
"We have made him our best offer and it is in his court. If he decides to go he goes with our best wishes.
"If he goes, either one of the young boys will come through or we will bring someone in and we will probably have to go into the market place. Peter Gentle is already looking at alternatives."
The Mail understands Hull's offer is unlikely to be trumped by any of the NRL sides, despite the higher salary cap in Australia, with Briscoe unlikely to attract the sort of huge salaries earned by the top Australian stars at this stage of his career.
Briscoe's desire to play in Australia is not based on money, however, with the former Featherstone Lions player wanting to test himself and sample life on the Aussie east coast.
Pearson was speaking at last night's Hull FC fans forum, where coach Gentle said the deadline on a decision from his young star was not an issue.
Riolo has told Hull a decision regarding Briscoe's future will be made before the start of the NRL season in March.
Gentle insists that deadline is not set in stone and has been put in place by the player, and not by the club.
"Tom set the deadline, but we won't push him or hold him to it," added Gentle.
Both Gentle and Pearson are at ease with the situation, admitting time is on their side to find a replacement should Briscoe leave.
And speaking about his options and the possibility of losing a world-class player, Gentle said he may well have a future superstar already in his squad.
"If Tom goes we have 12 months to replace him and in 12 months' time Tom Lineham could be anything," said Gentle.
"So we could have a ready-made replacement.
"We could have a world class player in our ranks already.
"Tom is still learning the game and isn't there yet, but he could be."