Ali’s NRL Rumour Mill Pt 1.

In a new fortnightly segment for NRLNEWS, Ali joins us to provide the latest NRL rumours, signings and news, sure to cause some discussion.

This article will be formatted as a series of questions that have arisen in the last fortnight in regards to: players, signings, dramas, and of course rumours.

In the last fortnight, there are still a ton of rumours are floating around the Rugby League universe despite the 2014 NRL season being done and dusted.

So, without further adieu, here are this fortnights NRL questions and answers:

Q- So two players were reported to be leaving the Bulldogs, we know one is Dale Finucane but who is the other?
A- Featherstone Rovers have signed former Canterbury, Cronulla and Parramatta forward Reni Maitua on a two-year deal.

Q- What is the latest on Trent Merrin and who is most likely to sign him for season 2016?
A- Well, I know for a fact that Trent Merrin’s manager Wayne Beavis has begun talks with with rival NRL clubs in bid to secure a contract for Trent for season 2016 and beyond. The two favourites to sign Trent are the Broncos and Roosters.

Q- Is Luke Lewis injured and will he play more than 8 games next year for the Sharks?
A- It’s hard to determine how many games a NRL player will play each season but Luke Lewis is still recovering from an injury he suffered this season and regarding his playing future, a few rival clubs are interested in signing Luke Lewis. He WILL leave the Sharks if the price is right because the Sharks are looking at signing Tongan international Samisoni Langi.

Q- Will the Mata’utia brothers stay at the Knights or will they leave to join the Bulldogs?
A- The latest news on all three Mata’utia brothers (Sione, Chanel and Pat) is that they WILL be staying at the Newcastle Knights and will reject the Bulldogs offer.

Like my facebook page – Ali’s latest Nrl rumours

Storm utility back heads North to Townsville

Justin O'Neill

Originally a junior with Brothers in Townsville, Justin O’Neill will return to the city where it all began after signing a 2-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys.

Playing most of his career at the Melbourne Storm so far, the premiership-winning utility back will provide the Cowboys back-line with a much needed boost.

It was back in 2010 when O’Neill made his debut for the Storm, playing in 67 NRL games during that time and scoring 34 tries.

O’Neill will have some players he knows at the club already, having played with Matthew Wright and Cameron King in the 2010 Junior Kangaroos squad.

For the club, they are excited to bring one of their own back and look forward to his impact in 2015 and beyond.

“It’s really pleasing for us to be able to bring Justin back to North Queensland to continue his NRL career,” Cowboys general manager – football Peter Parr said.

“He’s only a young man but he’s had plenty of first grade experience and should have the best years of his career still to come.

“I’m sure our members and fans are going to enjoy having him as part of our club.”

O’Neill, who came up through the Storm U20’s ranks, will be missed by the club and they wish him farewell.

“On behalf of everyone at Storm, I’d like to thank Justin for his contribution to the Club,” said Storm CEO, Mark Evans.

“Justin was an Under-20’s graduate who went on to become a Premiership-winning winger in 2012 and he will always be welcome at Storm.

“We wish him and his partner well for the future.”

Nick’s View: Dave Smith’s tenure as CEO – just how has he performed?

Dave Smith

Passionate NRL and Brisbane Broncos fan Nick (@nicklocke87) joins us for his first article for NRL News, as he casts his eye over how CEO Dave Smith was appointed in the role and how he has performed since.

Dave Smith as CEO of the NRL. Who would’ve thought that 3 years ago as an ex lawyer and survivor of the Super League war, David Gallop, controlled the game with seemingly an iron fist, that we would end up with a Welsh Banker with a passion for our country?

I certainly didn’t. Let me start by saying that I rather enjoyed the performances of David Gallop as CEO of this great game for a number reasons. Not least of which was his ability to make the tough decisions whilst displaying the emotions of an iPhone assistant whose name rhymes with ‘miri’. David struck me as a logical man who analysed a situation and selected the most appropriate action available at that point in time. For this reason, the man appeared to make a perfect enemy to those who make their decisions with that old thing we call ‘emotion’.

Rugby league is an emotional game. There isn’t a supporter out there that doesn’t act based on his desires to see his or her team, player or coach succeed or be advantaged.

Enter David Smith.

In a vast and calculated recruitment process, the net was cast out for the NRL to find its own version of the financially entrepreneurial Andrew Demetriou to take this great game from the suburbs to the CBD. Someone that could implement a real ‘strategy’ to grow our great game to dominate the Aussie sporting landscape. We wanted the best of the best, a man or woman that could at long last professionalise this game and make the decisions that were
not always wanted by the games stakeholders but were needed. We now have this man.

When you think about the best CEOs from around the world, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, how many of these came without criticism? The answer is none. Now please don’t think that for one moment I compare our NRL CEO to the world’s best.

But please recognise that there are similarities. Each of these great leaders have the ability to both dream
big and listen to the demand and create a supply. Dave Smith has so far made changes based on the voice of the fans demands such as increased focus on the referee pathways, grassroots funding, live Sunday games, more footy such as the Auckland Nines and the WCC.

He has provided the supply (including amending a $1billion TV deal in the process). He is also employing people with the ability to fulfil their position descriptions. These are those who are being referred to with the ‘dirty’ connotation of ‘non rugby league people’.

Ladies and gentlemen, these very people are exactly what this great game needs in order to take it to the next level or professionalism. ‘Professionals’ with no club bias or hidden agenda. Those with the capacity to make decisions based on the greater good as opposed to the personal good.

This is not politics people. We don’t need staff making decisions based on what is the best decision for keeping their position. What is best for business is best for Rugby League.

Embrace it.

Australian utility signs with the Coventry Bears

Pauly Ivan

There has been a recent influx of Australian-based players heading to the numerous English Championships and that has continued, with former Brisbane Broncos and Redcliffe Dolphins utility Pauly Ivan signing with the Coventry Bears.

Adept at back-row and centre, the 27-year old Dutch descendant has played over 100 games for the Dolphins in the Intrust Super Cup with Bears head coach Tom Tsang well aware of how crucial Ivan’s experience will be.

“Paul is a player we have been in contact with for a while now and we are overjoyed to have confirmed his signing.” said Tsang.

“We wanted to add a bit more size to our pack and at 6ft 5in and 17 Stone, Paul certainly fits that criteria. He is a big guy but from what we have seen also very mobile and skilful meaning he can play in the back-row as well as centre.

“He has spent time at some very prestigious organisations including NRL club Brisbane Broncos where he was very close to breaking into the NRL side. He has a heap of experience having played several seasons at Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup.”

With Dutch heritage, the process to gain a UK work visa will be easier, as the club awaits the final approval.

“As Paul’s Grandparents are from Holland, he is eligible to apply for a Dutch passport and he is currently working through that process to allow him a work permit to play in the UK,” said Tsang.

“We can’t wait for Paul to arrive and link up with the squad – he will be a big presence in all meanings of the word.”

Currently enjoying a stint with Limoux in the French Elite 1 competition, Ivan said he is looking forward to joining the Bears once his stint in France is over.

“I am excited about joining the Bears and being a part of the club’s historical first season,” said Ivan.

“I have seen that the league has been re-structured and it will be great to be part of a new era for Rugby League in the UK.”

Eldest Fifita brother signs with Workington Town

Latu Fifita

He may not have the profile that brothers Andrew or David have but he is a strong, solid rugby league player nonetheless, as a new challenge awaits the eldest of the Fifita brothers, Latu.

Coming off a successful campaign with the Northern Pride that saw them win the Intrust Super Cup and the NRL State Championship, the hulking prop forward will join English Championship side, Workington Town.

It was a hard slog for the club to sign him as coach Phil Veivers admitted they were chasing his signature for quite some time.

“We’ve fought pretty hard to get him and I’m over the moon that we’ve finally signed him,” Veivers said.

“He will add some size and ability to our pack. He’s got good feet, good leg speed and a fast play of the ball.

“Latu will bring some leadership qualities with him. He’s a Tonga international and has played at a very good standard.”

The delay was a result of visa issues and whilst some might think they have signed him because of his last name, Veivers re-iterated that Fifita was signed to give them some starch and punch on the field.

“He’s got good stock in his brothers,” Veivers added.

“And he will offer the club something off the field too.

“But that’s not the reason I’ve signed him. I’ve signed him for what he will give us on the pitch.

Correspondence with a former Northern Pride coach Jason Demetriou gave Veivers some solid insight into the play and style of Latu Fifita.

“I spoke to his old head coach Jason Demetriou who told me that he believes Latu is an NRL player in the waiting,” said Veivers.

“Jason thinks the Championship should be a walkover for him. I believe Latu will have a little bit more freedom at our level to play the style he wants.”

Bulldogs veteran off to England after signing with Featherstone

Reni Maitua

For the Featherstone Rovers fans, they must be stoked with their player signings to date and it has only gotten better, with NRL veteran Reni Maitua signing with the club.

Maitua, who has vast NRL and representative experience has played in 174 NRL games for the Canterbury Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels, as well as international caps for New Zealand and Samoa.

Although he has had his fair share of issues in the past, his experience will be invaluable for the Rovers side, with the 2-year deal subject to a visa clearance.

The previous issues were well documented and at one point, Maitua was suspended from the game for the use of a banned substance but he has since bounced back and performed well for numerous clubs since then.

Knowing how experienced he is, the club cannot wait to get him on board and on the field.

“This is a massive signing for Featherstone Rovers and a statement of intent by the club. His playing record speaks for itself and he brings a wealth of experience to our dressing room,” said Featherstone Rovers coach, Andy Hay.

“He is a uncompromising leader both on and off the field and will be big asset. We’ve done our homework and talked to people who have been working with him recently and he was highly rated.”

Having already made contact with Maitua, Hay looks forward to seeing the veteran get stuck in at the club. Additionally, with Maitua knowing about the club after discussions with Hay, they know he will help to promote the club.

“I’ve spoken to Reni and he is really eager to join Featherstone Rovers and help us achieve our ambitions of bringing top flight rugby league to the town,” said Hay.

“He has made it clear that he does not see this as a holiday but he wants to prove himself in the UK with Featherstone Rovers. He is excited about the new structures in place in our competition and wants to play Super League with Rovers.

He will not only be an asset on the field but he will be helping to promote the club and lift the profile of Featherstone Rovers.”

NRL veteran signs with new QLD Cup side, the Townsville Blackhawks

Neville Costigan

The newest addition to the Intrust Super Cup, the Townsville Blackhawks, have been forced to work hard to form a competitive side and their recent addition is their best one yet.

Just who is it? One NRL veteran in Neville Costigan. A former QLD Origin player and Papua New Guinean international, the veteran forward has signed a 2-year deal with the Blackhawks.

Having played almost 200 games across the NRL and the Super League for a variety of clubs including the Brisbane Broncos, the North Queensland Cowboys, the Newcastle Knights, the Canberra Raiders and Hull Kingston Rovers, his signing is a huge one for the new club.

“I am looking forward to a new challenge both on and off the field and I am thankful to Hull KR for the understanding and professionalism they have displayed in allowing me this opportunity to return to Queensland and play in the Intrust Super Cup.” Costigan said.

The club are pleased to have such an experienced player in their ranks and for the Blackhawks Football Operations Manager Adrian Thomson, the signing will have a big impact for the club.

“Signing a player of Neville’s caliber will have a significant impact on our club as well as the entire competition because players like Neville excite the fans and raise the profile of the game in the region,” said Thomson.

“A player of his standing not only bolsters our forward stocks on field but also contributes to our off-field success”.

Costigan has been training with the side since November and as a fierce competitor, Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf knows how valuable his side can be.

“Neville is well respected in the playing group and he has a unique strength about him as a competitor,” said Woolf.

“He is a welcome addition to our team and I am sure he will impress when he takes to the field.”

Tigers utility back heads to England subject to visa

Jy Hitchcox

He got a chance to play in first-grade for the Wests Tigers late on and he will have a chance to push for first-grade on the other side of the world, with Jy Hitchcox signing with English Championship side, the Featherstone Rovers.

At 25, the versatile utility back is adept at fullback, centre and wing and with previous stints at the Gold Coast Titans and Melbourne Storm, he is well accustomed to the game of rugby league.

Playing in over 60 games in the NSW Cup and enjoying a stint in rugby union with the Manly Marlins, the former Australian U18 player will be welcomed graciously at the Rovers pending visa clearance.

“Jy is a player we have been watching who has a good pedigree and is player who can cover a number of positions,” said Rovers head coach, Andy Hay.

“He has played all over the field and he even filled in at hooker at one point last season for the Tigers at New South Wales Cup level so he’s a pretty tough player. I think he will add plenty of speed on the outside and he has good ball skills so he will be an asset to us.

“His capture creates further competition in our three-quarter line and I’m looking forward to him arriving at the club and fighting for a place in the team. It’s important that we have healthy competition throughout the squad next year and Jy certainly provides that.”

Eels extend partnership with feeder side Wentworthville

The two clubs have been in a partnership for some years now and it will continue, with the Parramatta Eels and Wentworthville Magpies to maintain their feeder club relationship.

The Wentworthville Magpies, currently playing in the NSW Cup, have been the feeder club of the Eels side since 2008, the inception of the NSW Cup.

The new deal will run for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, with the Eels themselves excited to continue the current partnership with the Magpies.

“This partnership is outstanding for us, there are many players who have come through this system and it¹s a big pathway for player development,” Eels Head of Football Operations Daniel Anderson said.

“Coaches have relied on it as a quality second tier competition to challenge juniors on the way up and to let younger players mix with the experienced players in NSW Cup.”

“The relationship between young and experienced players is great for both Wenty and the Eels, in addition to providing valuable experience for a number of staff.”

Dogs back-rower heads South to Melbourne

Dale Finucane

There are some Dogs fans that are against the move but it is now done and dusted, with utility forward Dale Finucane to join the Melbourne Storm from 2015.

The deal will see Finucane remain in the Victorian capital for three seasons and since he made his debut in mid-2012, the forward has played in 66 NRL games.

A country boy at heart from Bega, NSW, Finucane adds some punch to the Storm pack, especially after the departure of veteran Ryan Hoffman.

With several other forwards moving on as well or retiring, the club are pleased to have secured someone like Finucane within their ranks.

“After losing Bryan Norrie to retirement, we’ve been on the look-out for a player that can make an immediate impact in the middle,” said Storm coach, Craig Bellamy.

“Dale is an ideal replacement and the type of player we like at Storm. We actually spoke to him a few years ago about a potential move so I’m glad he’s finally made the decision to join us.”

For the man himself, it is a new challenge and one that he looks forward to.

“It was a difficult decision to leave the Bulldogs,” said Finucane.

“They’ve been a tremendous Club but I’m delighted I can continue my career with Melbourne Storm.

“It’s a new challenge for me and I’m looking forward to learning more from Craig and meeting my new teammates in the New Year.”

The Bulldogs would have liked to have retained him but know that Finucane was after more game time.

“Dale has been an important contributor to the Club over six years and whilst we are sad to see him leave, we are supportive of his desire to secure more game time,” Chief Executive Raelene Castle said.

“I know that the staff, fans and all of Dale’s team mates, will join me in wishing him all the best for the future.”

When does the patent to Viagra end of viagra doctors As a specialist of homeopathy for the last many years, thus, an purchase viagra online canada However, in case of a person with ed this procedure does not really free erectile dysfunction samples Cryosurgery Nitric-oxide allows the additional blood required buy viagra with prescription Heard of the phrase, function is lord, it really is very suitably said can u buy viagra over the counter The finest about these medications is their utility and online prescription viagra There are holistic treatments readily available for virtually any condition you can think of. Cool, flu, hypersensitivity, also bed-wetting cheap viagra fast shipping Japan are usually recognized for his or her discipline where to buy viagra online Anabolic steroids that are oral offer the benefit of entering someone s system a viagra cheapest price h Go sleep like a record! A deficiency of sleep leads to cortisol production, and what is the best online pharmacy