Idris returns to rugby league after taking up Wests Tigers deal

Jamal Idris

18 months away from the game is a long time to reflect on your career and evaluate where things are at and after time to think, Jamal Idris is back in the NRL.

Idris will take up a 1-year deal with the Wests Tigers in 2017, having previously spent time with the Canterbury Bulldogs, the Gold Coast Titans and the Penrith Panthers.

With a total of 131 NRL games to his name since his debut back in 2008, Idris was the 2009 Rookie of the Year and a star on the rise.

However, like many young players, the struggles came and he was forced to take time away from the game to set himself on the right path and get his off-field life back on track.

Now, with a fresh outlook and a rejuvenated passion for the game of rugby league, Idris is back in the NRL and is excited at what lies ahead for him.

“For me, it’s so exciting as there are a lot of up-and-coming young players here,” said Idris.

“The average age is really young, and they’re only going to get better and more experienced. If they do that together, then they’re going to gel well as a team and that’s really exciting.

“I’ve learned a lot over the last year, and the biggest thing was that I was playing rugby league for others. This time, I’m playing rugby league for myself.”

Idris is eager to get involved in not only the game of rugby league once more but with the Wests Tigers club itself.

“There’s no better way to get back into it then to get stuck into training, and I’m improving a lot every week. I’m just hoping to do it now, week in and week out,” said Idris.

“I can’t wait to meet all the new fans and Members of Wests Tigers.”

“This Club has a great history and supporter base, and I can’t wait to meet and get to know so many more fans.”

Fans have always known that Idris has the ability to play the game and with the off-field elements now sorted, Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe is excited to have Idris join the club.

“As a Club, we are really pleased to have Jamal at Wests Tigers next year,” Pascoe said.

“We’re thrilled that he’s decided to embark on the next stage of his playing career with us.

“We all know what he can do on the field and we look forward to seeing him do it in a Wests Tigers jersey next season,” he said. “Jamal’s been a fan favourite everywhere that he’s played and I’m sure that Wests Tigers Members and fans are excited to have him with us.

“We had a lot of positive signs both on and off the field in 2016 and Jamal’s signing is another step in the right direction for this organisation.”

Equally pleased is coach Jason Taylor, who will be able to have a fully committed Idris ready to play in 2017.

“We’re really looking forward to having Jamal join us ahead of the 2017 season,” said Taylor.

“He brings a lot of size and strength to our outside backs which is something that we identified that needed to be improved on for the coming year.

“Jamal has played the game at the highest level and comes to Wests Tigers with a lot to prove.”

“He’s been working hard over the last couple of weeks to ensure that he’s ready for the start of pre-season and he’s incredibly motivated to get back into the game and we’re really happy that he’s decided to do it with us.”

Former England coach appointed assistant at the Warriors

Steve McNamara

Underdoing a slew of coaching changes ahead of the 2017 season, the next piece of the puzzle is complete at the New Zealand Warriors with the appointment of a new assistant coach.

That new assistant coach is former England coach Steve McNamara who has agreed to a two-year deal with the Warriors.

Most recently, McNamara was assistant coach of the Sydney Roosters for the last three years.

His coaching experience was a big factor in the decision to appoint him as an assistant.

“Steve has tremendous coaching credentials through his time as England’s head coach as well as his experience with Bradford in the Super League and now the Roosters in the NRL,” said Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle.

“In joining Stephen, Cappy (Andrew McFadden) and Stacey (Jones), Steve completes our NRL coaching staff for next season.

“We’re excited about being able to bring this group of coaches together as we strive to lift our standards. Certainly our senior players and the whole NRL squad will now have better coaching support than they’ve ever had before.”

Equally pleased is McNamara himself, who is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead at the Warriors.

“I’ve learnt so much about the NRL in my three seasons with the Roosters, adding to past experience with England and Bradford,” he said.

“Now I’m really excited about this next step in my coaching career, coming to Auckland and working with Stephen and a great coaching group.”

McNamara is also looking forward to working with Kearney and believes the Warriors have all the potential in the world to succeed.

“I am in no doubt that the Vodafone Warriors have the players to make a mark in the NRL and I want to do all I can to help make that happen,” said McNamara.

“I have the greatest admiration for Stephen from the days when we were opposing coaches of our national teams. He has done wonderfully well with the Kiwis and I’m sure he’s going to do a terrific job with the Vodafone Warriors.”

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney also praised the signing and knows that despite once being adversaries, that the two can get along well in the coaching ranks.

“While Steve and I were adversaries in our roles with our national teams, we formed a great relationship,” he said.

“He brings qualities that will give us a really strong and experienced coaching group as we look ahead to take the Vodafone Warriors to the level we collectively expect of this club.

“There’s much work to do but with Steve, Cappy and Stacey we have a coaching team that can really lift standards and bring about the improvements we must make to be consistently competitive in the NRL.”

The flying French re-signs at the Eels

Bevan French

For some time now, Parramatta Eels fans have been raving about Bevan French. The talk was justified as he set the NRL alight with pace, speed and good plays.

An exciting player to watch, French has signed a new deal until the end of 2019 that will have Eels fans cheering.

Joining the Eels in 2013, the Tingha local was a strong performer in the Holden Cup before getting his chance in first grade in 2016.

The new contract is just rewards for French who has had a very solid debut season.

“Bevan’s development this year was a real positive for the club and I’m sure our members and fans are pleased that we have secured Bevan for another three seasons,” said head coach Brad Arthur.

“We have had a strategy over the last two years to retain our key players and provide strong additions for our squad going into 2017.

“We have made good progress so far and it’s our intention to continue this strategy as we head into the 2017 pre season.

Broncos sign Samoan international to shore up back-line depth

Tautau Moga

With the departures of both Jack Reed and Lachlan Maranta from the club, the Brisbane Broncos have found their man to replace the duo, signing Tautau Moga.

Moga, a former Sydney Roosters, and North Queensland Cowboys player has signed a 2-year deal with the Broncos.

Still only 22, Moga has played a total of 32 NRL games to date and could have played more, had knee injuries not taken their toll on him in recent years.

Despite that, he fought hard and earned opportunities at the Cowboys most recently, before taking up this deal with the Broncos.

“I am really pleased to be back in Brisbane and am aiming to get myself back in the NRL regularly,” he said.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity and can’t wait to get into the pre-season with my new teammates.”

The Ipswich junior and Australian Schoolboys representative will start pre-season training with the club in November.

Canberra prop heads North to sign with the Dragons

Paul Vaughan

Speculation mounted about his future given the uncertainty about his role at the Canberra Raiders and for Paul Vaughan, a move eventuated for him.

Vaughan’s new club is the St George Illawarra Dragons with his contract at the club to run until the end of the 2019 season.

Vaughan, a Gungahlin Bulls junior, has played 85 NRL games to date and has also represented NSW Country Origin and the Italian nation team.

With a new adventure on the horizon, Vaughan is excited at what lies ahead with the Dragons.

“I’m very happy to be joining the Dragons who have such a rich history and looking forward to starting the pre-season alongside my new teammates,” said Vaughan.

“The focus now is training hard over the coming months to establish myself within a very strong forward pack and playing my role within the squad.”

Ian Millward, the Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways, is pleased that the team have strengthened their forward pack with the signing of Vaughan.

“Paul is a big-sized front-rower who has played representative rugby league for several seasons now,” said Millward.

“His experience and presence will be a welcome addition to our current forward pack.”

Cook re-signs with Souths

Damien Cook

Whilst there was much conjecture initially about his future, the South Sydney Rabbitohs have shored up their hooker depth with Damien Cook re-signing.

Joining the Rabbitohs ahead of the 2016 season, Cook played in 16 NRL games last season. Coach Michael Maguire is pleased to have retained Cook in the club’s setup moving forward.

“Damien Cook is a true professional when it comes to his footy,” said Maguire.

“The dedication he displays on the field and during training has really seen him evolve as a player. The combinations he’s formed within the team and the skill we saw from Cook at the back end of this season comes directly from that determination he has.

“I’m really excited about what we will see from Cook in the coming seasons as he continues to improve his game.”

For Cook, it was about opportunity and progression and he believes Souths are the right club for him to achieve those aims.

“I’m really happy to have secured my future with the Rabbitohs and I think it’s a really great opportunity for me to develop and progress as a player,” said Cook.

“I feel like as a team we had a really strong finish to the season and I’m sure we’ll build on that through the pre-season and into 2017. I want to be a part of that and I’m keen to get stuck in with the boys.”

He also praised the fans and members for their support of both he and the club.

“The Members have always been really supportive and I really appreciate that – They’re definitely a big part of what makes this Club so great to play for,” Cook added.

New adventure lies ahead for Sharks forward

Jesse Sene-Lefao

With the success of the Cronulla Sharks side in 2016, his name did not feature regularly but he was a player that Sharks fans felt offered the side plenty, as Jesse Sene-Lefao departs.

The utility forward will embark on the next chapter in his career, signing a deal with Super League side Castleford.

Playing in a total of 6 games for the Sharks in 2016 and previously at Manly in years prior, the Samoan international will not be alone as he knows several of the players currently at the club.

I’m really excited to be heading to the UK to join Castleford Tigers,” said Sene-Lefao.

“I’m good friends with Ben Roberts and Junior Moors and they’ve both told me such positive stories about the club and how passionate the fans are.”

In the end, the move was one that was right for his family and he is excited to get involved with the club and their pre-season.

“I’m ready now to take my game up to a new level and Castleford sounds perfect for me,” Sene-Lefao said.

“I’m looking forward to playing for a club that plays such a big part in the community and my family and I are looking forward to the experience of moving overseas and getting to know the people of Castleford.

We’re taking a family holiday right now but I can’t wait to make the move and knuckle down and show what I can do in pre-season training.”

Having watched him back from his time at Manly, Castleford coach Daryl Powell is pleased to have Sene-Lefao on board to add some starch to their forward pack.

“I’m delighted that Jesse has agreed to join us. I watched him play two years ago for Manly and I was really impressed with his skill, energy, enthusiasm and determination as a player,” said Powell.

“This year he was in a great environment at the eventual winners of the NRL Cronulla Sharks and I’m sure he’ll bring his great experience as a player to help us as a club achieve our goals.”

2017 NRL Trials Thread

It might be the off season but the NRL season is essentially never-ending, as news of scheduled trial games for 2017 filters through.

As trials come to hand, we will update the thread with confirmed matches and keep you, the fans, informed and up-to-date.

So without further adieu, here is the list of 2017 NRL Trials:

Saturday February 11

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLTrials #NRLsouman); Campbelltown Stadium. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Former NRL prop signs deal with Catalans

Luke Burgess

They all moved over to the NRL and the South Sydney Rabbitohs initially but having them all stay together was always the hard task, as Luke Burgess embarks on a new rugby league chapter.

The eldest of the Burgess quartet, Luke has signed with the Catalan Dragons in the Super League for two years after a brief stint with Salford during their Super 8’s campaign.

Having previously played for the Leeds Rhinos and winning both Super League titles and a World Club Challenge, he set sail for down-under alongside his brothers.

He played more than 50 games in the NRL for both the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Sea Eagles.

The deal at Catalans has Luke excited at what lies ahead.

“I am delighted to have signed for the Catalans Dragons and to be returning to play in Super League,” said Burgess.

“The club has a very talented playing squad and for much of last season looked to be on course for at least a top-four place in the Super League, at the same time playing a very attractive brand of rugby league.

“I am very excited at the prospect of doing what I can over the next two seasons to bring success to the club and their supporters.”

Equally pleased is Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous, who knows just how much experience and value that Burgess can add to the side.

Luke will bring top-level Super League and NRL experience to our squad next season,” said Frayssinous.

“He will add size and will strengthen our pack, offensively and defensively. He loves France and has the perfect pedigree, on and off the field.”

Souths re-sign promising back-rower and add halves depth

Jack Gosiewski

With many fans crying out for some astute signings to shore up their depth, the South Sydney Rabbitohs have heard the calls loud and clear and acted.

Re-signing back-rower Jack Gosiewski and signing former Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels half, Luke Kelly, now gives the club additional depth.

Gosiewski has played five NRL games to date making his debut earlier in the 2016 season and after playing a large number of games for the Under 20’s side, Gosiewski wants to do the same in first-grade.

“I started with Souths in the Under 20’s so to get a taste of first grade this year was a dream come true and something I want to do more of,” Gosiewski said.

“I’m looking forward to getting into the pre-season work and putting my best foot forward alongside my team-mates as we head towards the new season.”

Bunnies head coach Michael Maguire is pleased to see Gosiewski re-sign.

“Jack worked very hard to earn his first-grade debut this year and we’re looking forward to helping him with his progress,” said Coach Maguire.

Kelly and Maguire have worked together in the past at Melbourne and the coach is looking forward to the added depth and experience that Kelly can bring.

“I’ve worked with Luke during my time in Melbourne, as has Greg Inglis and Robbie Rochow, so I know what his work ethic and drive to compete is like,” said Maguire.

“Luke can play five-eighth or halfback and his addition to the squad, as well as the retention of Hymel and Jack, adds to the depth in our playing group as we prepare for the 2017 season.”

Luke Kelly

Your one stop shop for rugby league news

Page generated in 1.155 seconds. Stats plugin by