Rugby league or rugby union? It can be a hard choice for someone who grew up with both. After a lengthy Parramatta Eels stint, Tepai Moeroa will return to his rugby roots, signing with the NSW Waratahs.
Off-contract at season’s end, Moeroa made the decision to return to union and has signed a two-year deal with the Waratahs.
“I played rugby union throughout high school at Newington where I worked with Rappy [Tim Rapp – NSWRU General Manager of Rugby], it’s nice to be back and I’m really excited to represent the Waratahs,” Moeroa said.
Since debuting for the Eels in 2014, Moeroa has played in more than 100 games for the club with both highs and lows.
A two-time Australian schoolboy in rugby union, Tepai felt that it was the right time to get back into rugby union.
“I feel like this is the right time for me to come back [to rugby] and I’m in a position where I have time to get established in Super Rugby and then challenge myself to achieve more,” Moeroa continued.
“In speaking with Tim [Rapp] and Andrew [Hore] before signing I knew this was going to be a great place for me to reintroduce myself to the game to develop and achieve those goals.
“The Waratahs are home to some fantastic players, I’m looking forward to working with them and getting started in the pre-season.”
Try as he might, Garth Brennan just could not get the Gold Coast Titans to be the consistent force their fans and board crave.
As a result, it has cost him his job, with the club today confirming that Garth Brennan will no longer be head coach of the club.
Although no-one at the club wanted to see him leave, Titans Executive Chairman Dennis Watt said the situation had become untenable.
“No one at this organisation, or anyone involved in rugby league, wanted Garth’s time as Head Coach of the Titans to end this way,” Titans Executive Chairman Dennis Watt said.
“However, the results the club has achieved on the field this season have not met expectations, and the team’s performance in recent weeks has fallen to a level that is unacceptable to the Board, our Members, fans, sponsors and partners.”
“Unfortunately, that has left the club in a situation where Garth remaining in the position of Head Coach has become untenable.”
Despite making the decision to part ways with Brennan, Watt did praise the now former Titans coach for his work.
“While the on-field results have not been what we hoped for, Garth will still leave a tremendous legacy for this club with his contribution to the creation of our development systems and pathways,” Watt said.
“These will ensure the Titans’ future will be built around the best young players growing up on the Gold Coast and northern New South Wales.
“Along the way, Garth has handed NRL debuts to players like AJ Brimson, Moeaki Fotuaika and Jai Whitbread – players who will be at the core of this club for the years ahead.”
In the interim, assistant coaches Craig Hodges & Luke Burt will take over the reins as head coach.
The club will begin their search for a full-time replacement.
One of the most talented up-and-comers of our game, the Brisbane Broncos today announced the re-signing of Tevita Pangai Junior for three more years.
As the Broncos look to build up their young core, Tongan international Pangai Junior is the latest to re-sign.
For the hulking forward himself, he admits he always wanted to stay.
“It’s good to have my future sorted – I wasn’t planning on leaving, I love the club, and they’ve welcomed me with open arms and it’s good to call this place home for the next three years,” said Pangai Junior.
“The weather is great, the fans, playing at the best stadium every week – it’s an honour and a blessing to pull on that Broncos jersey. I’m just thankful for the club for having faith in me and backing me.”
The young forward knows there is always room to improve and he wants the chance to do that at Brisbane under coach Anthony Seibold.
“I want to work on my preparation, this is my third year in the NRL so I want to get my stuff right off the field and get that balance right and then have no excuses when I come out to play on the weekend,” Pangai Junior continued.
“I’m a big fan of ‘Seibs’ and the how he coaches, it’s a big reason why I’m staying.
“We have no excuses now; we have the best facility, we play at the best stadium, we are a proud brand and it’s an honour to be here.”
Seibold believes that the key to potential success is to lock down your most impressive young players.
“We are locking in a really talented group of players who will be at the core of our success in years to come,” said Seibold.
“We see Tevita and Matt as key members of our forward pack, and we look forward to seeing them both step up every week to provide the platform we need for team success.
“They are in their early 20s and have a lot of great football ahead of them.”
After turning down offers to join other clubs, the Brisbane Broncos have re-signed prop Matt Lodge until the end of 2022.
Digging deep and becoming one of the club’s most consistent players despite an inconsistent season, Lodge is pleased with the new deal.
“It’s been quite a long journey over the last few years but I’ve got my dream contract with my dream club and at the end of the day the decision was made pretty easy for me because this is where I want to be,” said Lodge.
“There was some interest from other places and the money was good but at the end of the day I had to step back from that and I’m happy here.”
In the end, the support he has received was a big factor behind Lodge’s decision to stay.
“When I was out of the game, I guess I looked forward to the first contract that would be put on the table,” said Lodge.
“Eventually I just drew a line and I’m happy with where I am and with what the club has given me – I recommitted here and I love this place.
“When I made the decision to stay, I knew that this is a group of people that have supported me since I first got back.
“I wanted to repay the faith, and I wanted to give the fans and this club something they can be proud of and I’ll be working really hard to get that result.”
The Broncos have watched Lodge grow and develop as a player and a person are pleased that he opted to stay.
We have been unwavering in our support for Matt over recent years, and it has been really pleasing to see his growth both on and off the footy field,” said Broncos CEO Paul White.
“He has matured into a leader and mentor for many of our younger players, and continues to work on his own development through studies and community work, as well as being a loving father to young Coby and partner to Jess.”
Not content with the crop of Englishmen at their club already, the Canberra Raiders have signed English halfback George Williams from the Wigan Warriors for three years.
A winner of two Super League titles alongside John Bateman, the English international has played 172 games for Wigan to date.
An enigmatic player, Williams has 10 appearances for England to his name and club CEO Don Furner is pleased to have him at the Raiders.
“George is an experienced half who joins us after a very successful career with Wigan in the Super League,” Furner said.
“The clubs had success in recent times in recruiting proven performers from the Super League and we believe George will fit into our system like others have.
“The club would like to wish George all the best for the remainder of the season with Wigan and we look forward to him joining us for pre-season training.”
Williams praised the Wigan club, its players and staff for his treatment, having come through the system as a young junior.
“Firstly, I want to say a massive thanks to everyone at Wigan Warriors for everything they have done for me,” Williams said.
“Those people who have supported me, coached me and played with me – I really appreciated your support.
“I’ve been at Wigan since I was 12-years-old and I have managed to live my dream playing 170+ games and winning two Grand Final’s for my hometown Club, along the way making some incredible memories and friends for life.”
For Williams, playing in the NRL has always been a dream of his and he is grateful to the Wigan club for allowing him to pursue it.
“Another dream of mine was always to play and to test myself in the NRL so I want to thank Ian Lenagan and Kris Radlinski for their understanding in allowing me to do this,” the English international continued.
“It is something I have always wanted to pursue and playing in the NRL is a big goal of mine, so I’m excited and very much looking forward to the massive challenge ahead.”