MM isn't off contract until the end of next year, but I can imagine he's probably down in confidence because literally every other option is being given a crack in first grade ahead of him. Giving him a crack in firsts is literally in everyone's best interest. It gives him a chance to showcase himself in front of other clubs in a comp with a dearth of good hookers, which means a better chance of him being offered a contract elsewhere. It means less Taylor at hooker, whose service is too slow regardless of how good his defence is. It means more chance to blood another option in reggies to take over for Liddle next year. Of course he could be playing poorly because of the rumours about his knees, in which case promoting him to firsts probably isn't best for him.