The Bulldogs have continued their impressive rebuilding, snaring another prize recruit in Queensland State of Origin utility David Stagg. The former Bronco has locked in for a 2 year period – the Dogs having more room under their cap after sending Reni Maitua packing.
New coach Kevin Moore was very keen on Stagg and pushed hard to get the second rower on the books at Belmore.
Stagg will have some friendly faces in former team-mates Ben Hannant and Michael Ennis at the Dogs.
“He will slot in for Maitua nicely. He was a key recruit for us for several reasons. For what Todd (Greenberg) and Kevin Moore want to do at the club, he’d fit right in,” Bulldogs talent manager Peter Mulholland confirmed.
“A good off-field representative, footy-wise, he is ideal. He and Kevin Moore hit it off in talks at the club last week. He has made a point of wanting to play 13 (lock) and we feel we can provide that.”
After some horror off-field headlines in recent years, highlighted by Sonny Bill Williams’ controversial walk-out at the Bulldogs to join French rugby union ranks and Maitua’s saga last month – Stagg met with Moore, Mulholland and club chief executive Todd Greenberg in Sydney last week to discuss the proposal. The relocation of SBW and the loss of former big names Willie Mason, Mark O’Meley and now Reni Maitua has provided the club with the ideal finance position to rebuild from scratch.
Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen was open to releasing Stagg if the rising star was keen to relocate.
The Broncos done some recruiting of their own – nabbing Ben Te’o from Wests Tigers and Lagi Setu from St George Illawarra, adding to their backrowers for 2009. It seems Stagg’s best chance of a starting spot was by joining the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, Maitua’s odds of returning to the NRL next season lengthened further with word that North Queensland, despite showing interest, can’t fit him under the salary cap.
Maitua is understood to have an option to continue playing football in the UK or join Williams in French rugby, but the 26-year-old’s preference is stay in Australia. Cronulla and South Sydney remain his best options for an NRL return.