Australian second rower Ian Hindmarsh could miss the start of the new NRL season in a transfer dispute with his former club Catalans Dragons.
Hindmarsh played a key role in the Dragons' first Super League season
The 29-year-old played 27 games for the French side last season.
He was granted a release to return home, despite having two years left on his contract and has signed for the Parramatta Eels.
But the Dragons are seeking £16,000 compensation before clearing him to resume his career.
The French club claim the release was conditional on him not playing for another club.
Hindmarsh told the Dragons that he had decided to return home primarily to look after his interests in a farming property in New South Wales.
The NRL season begins on 16 March but the case is set to be heard at a Rugby Football League tribunal on 3 April and Hindmarsh is adamant that he will not pay the £16,000 fee.
"It's something I'm not prepared to do," he told the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. "I haven't got that sort of money.
"At the moment, it doesn't look like I'll be able to play in the opening two rounds of the competition unless I can get the hearing brought forward and they find in my favour."