Eels forward makes the move North to Newcastle

Pauli Pauli

It was a move anticipated for quite some time in light of recent moves the Parramatta Eels have made, with the Newcastle Knights signing young gun Pauli Pauli.

The Eels, who gave Pauli his opportunity, released him from the final two years of his contract and released the following statement:

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have today released Pauli Pauli from the final two years of his contract.

Pauli will take up an opportunity at another NRL club from the 2016 season onwards.

The club thanks Pauli for his 33 games in Blue and Gold and wishes him every success for his future.

With 33 NRL games to date, the signing is one that has Knights coach Nathan Brown pleased.

“This is great news for the Club because Pauli certainly improves our squad,” coach Nathan Brown said.

“Pauli is a young forward and will continue to develop and improve his game at the Knights.

“He immediately adds good size to our forward pack and we look forward to welcoming him to the Club.”

Former Titans stalwart extends his stay at Hull FC

Mark Minichiello

Once upon a time, he was a crucial part of the Gold Coast Titans back-row but Mark Minichiello’s new English adventure has been serving him well, after he re-signed at Hull FC.

The veteran back-rower who has taken his good form from the NRL into the Super League, played in all but three matches for the Black and Whites’ and took home the Supporters’ Player of the Year Award.

It was an easy decision for Hull FC in the end, with coach Lee Radford pleased with how well Minichiello has fit into their system.

“It was a no-brainer on our part,” coach Lee Radford said.

“The form he showed last year was fantastic and hopefully he’ll better that in 2016.

“Last season, he was often on the field in games for longer minutes than what we would have liked but we didn’t feel we had sufficient replacements on the bench on one or two occasions.

With more back-rowers now at their disposal, the veteran will have to be at his best and Radford will push that message through.

“That won’t be the case this time around. He’s got some great back-rowers with him now and that also means he’ll have to perform,” said Radford.

“He’ll benefit from having the new boys in the squad.”

Equally pleased is Minichiello himself, who after consulting with family, knew that staying in Hull was the way to go.

“I’m pleased to get it all sealed off and I’m really excited about the next couple of years with Hull,” said Minichiello.

“It wasn’t a hard decision at all. I sat down with my family and we all agreed we wanted to stay here.

“We’re really settled here now and I believe the club has a big future that I want to be a part of. I want to win a trophy and I think we have a side here that can do that.”

Former NRL player banned under league’s anti-doping policy

Martin Kennedy

In a further blow for the NRL on top of recent incidents, the powers that be have acted and have swiftly banned former player Martin Kennedy under the NRL’s anti-doping policy.

Kennedy, who faced the anti-doping tribunal, was found guilty of the following violations:

Attempted use of SARMS S22

• Attempted use of Growth Hormone

• Attempted Use of Chorionic Gonadotrophin

• Attempted Use of Insulin

The minimum sanction for Kennedy stands at 2 years and nine months but is backdated – dating back to March 15 2015 – with the suspension to end in December of 2017.

With the NRL committed to maintaining a drug-free sport, the NRL’s Head of Integrity Nick Weeks made it clear that they will not tolerate the usage of drugs.

“The NRL remains committed to eliminating performance enhancing drugs in our game,” Mr Weeks said.

“Drug free sport is essential in ensuring a fair competition and a safe working environment for our players, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to achieve this.

“Today’s decision of the Anti-Doping Tribunal demonstrates and furthers that effort.”

Should Kennedy wish to appeal the decision, he has 21 days to do so to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Veteran centre earns life-line and signs with Souths

Dane Nielsen

Recently let go by the Bradford Bulls, things may have looked a bit bleak for Dane Nielsen but a life-line came knocking, as he signed a two-year deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Nielsen, who has also played for the Melbourne Storm, the Cronulla Sharks, the New Zealand Warriors and the St George Illawarra Dragons, was recently let go by the Dragons after an indiscretion.

With NRL titles to his name, appearances for QLD and for the Indigenous All-Stars side, Nielsen will bring much needed experience to the Bunnies back-line.

The signing is one that pleases coach Michael Maguire.

“Dane brings with him big game experience which will be invaluable for the young members of our backline,” Maguire said.

“He’s prepared to put in the work and fight for a spot in our backline, and competition for spots is what every Club looks for.

“We’re looking forward to having him join the squad this week.”

Canavan jumps ship & heads North to take up role at the Titans

Brian Canavan

In a surprise move, Brian Canavan will take his skills and expertise North, joining the Gold Coast Titans as their newly appointed Chief Operating Officer.

Canavan, noted mostly for his efforts and time with the Sydney Roosters, has been lauded as a significant off-field signing for the Titans.

“Brian is not only an experienced Rugby League administrator, he is also a quality individual who will further add to the public credibility of this club as we continue to rebuild and improve”, Titans CEO Mr Graham Annesley said.

“Over the course of his 18 years at the Roosters, Brian has been an integral part of the management of one of the most successful clubs in the game. His acquisition by the Titans is as important as any other made in the club’s short history.”

The exact time-frame in which Canavan will start is still unknown, but the Titans hope to have him on board once his relocation from Sydney is complete.

Former Souths CEO rejoins the club in a new role

Shane Richardson

Shane Richardson will soon head back to the South Sydney Rabbitohs, with the former club CEO to rejoin Souths as the club’s General Manager of Football.

After 12 months at the NRL as their Head of Game Strategy and Development, Richardson tendered his resignation. His new role at Souths will see him oversee player retention, recruitment, pathways and operations.

Current Souths CEO John Lee is looking forward to having Richardson back at the club.

“Shane is arguably the most experienced football brain in the country,” Mr Lee said.

“He has a wonderful understanding of the football side of the business and a deep appreciation of what our Club stands for, having been part of the organisation for over a decade.

“I’m looking forward to Shane’s contribution to the future success of the Rabbitohs.”

Richardson’s contribution was praised by ARLC Chairman John Grant.

“He has completed the strategy and has been offered a long term role at Souths so this is the logical time to make the change,” he said.

“His experience at the NRL has given him a unique insight into the game that he did not have before and he leaves on the best of terms.”

In his role with the NRL for just 12 months, it was a question of pursuing a role that he has always had an eye for and Richardson looks forward to getting started.

“I really enjoyed the experience of working at NRL headquarters but this new role – and its direct involvement with the players and the game – is what I want to do next in life,” he said.

“I am looking forward to moving from a strategic role back to the coal face.”

Nona takes up deal with the Dragons

Shaun Nona

Storm fans may remember him from the 2015 season, even if he was not in the first-grade side, with Shaun Nona signing with the St George Illawarra Dragons for the 2016 season.

Having initially signed with the Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup season for 2016, the two clubs came to an agreement that saw Nona make the shift to the Dragons.

The Cutters full statement on Nona is as follows:

“The Absolute Enterprises Mackay Cutters would this morning like to announce that Shaun Nona has been granted a release from the Club to join the St George Illawarra Dragons for Telstra Premiership Season 2016.

The Cutters announced Shaun’s signing in December of 2015 following his release from the Melbourne Storm and while excited at the prospect of a player of Shaun’s calibre joining the Club at Stadium Mackay the Club congratulates Shaun on his NRL deal with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Mackay Cutters wishes Shaun all the best for Season 2016 and looks forward to a successful year ahead in the Intrust Super Cup.”

Roosters replace Jennings with talented Brisbane centre

Dale Copley

Everything is happening today and following the Roosters releasing Michael Jennings to sign with the Eels, they acted swiftly and wrapped up a new centre of their own.

That centre is Dale Copley, who has departed the Brisbane Broncos after some years at the club, securing an early release.

“Dale has been with our club for a significant amount of time,” said CEO Paul White.

“The last month has not been easy for Dale, but the club and his management have remained in constant contact during this period to allow the best outcome for all and not put unnecessary pressure on the player or the process.

“I have told Dale he is held in the highest regard by all at this club as both a person and a player.”

There was nothing but praise for Copley from the Broncos, who thanked him for what he did at the club.

“He leaves with our blessing and support, and we hope there is an opportunity for him to one day be a part of the club again,” said White.

“We thank Dale and his family for their contributions to the Broncos, and wish him all the best.”

It is not often that you have a chance to sign a quality centre after losing another, but the Roosters pounced on the vacant Copley.

“We see Dale taking his game to the next level here at the Roosters, and with his signature being sought by a number of clubs, we are pleased to have secured his services,” said Roosters Recruitment Manager, Peter O’Sullivan.

“A member of Queensland’s emerging Origin squad, Dale is a tremendous finisher, blessed with wonderful footwork and a natural try-scoring ability. There’s no doubt that he will add some terrific depth to our outside backs, and we look forward to watching his game develop in the coming seasons,” he added.

Centre merry-go-round continues as Jennings heads to the Eels

Michael Jennings

It was rumoured for a while and it has eventuated, with NSW representative centre Michael Jennings making the switch from the Eastern Suburbs to Western Sydney.

Jennings, who has been at the Roosters for some years now, heads back to Western Sydney to play for the Parramatta Eels, having previously played for the Penrith Panthers.

The four year deal strengthens the Eels side and back-line and for Jennings, the chance to play in a team that he sees is going places was one of the keys for him.

“I’m really excited about joining the Eels,” Jennings said.

“Parramatta’s a club on the rise and I’m looking forward to the challenge, taking a leadership role and further developing my game.”

Playing alongside some previous team-mates at the club was also a key factor for Jennings.

“I have some really good mates at the club – boys I’ve grown up with – and I’m confident we can do well in the coming years,” said Jennings.

“It will be a new experience playing out of the home sheds at Pirtek Stadium but it’s something I’m very excited about and I can’t wait to get started.”

With the Eels planning and progressing both on and off the field, his signature will be a welcome boost for the club.

“Michael is very keen to join the Eels based on the direction the club is going and the environment we’re building, and he’ll be a valuable asset on and off the field,” CEO John Boulous said.

“We have a very specific strategic plan for the next few seasons and his belief in our club’s purpose will help deliver that.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Head Coach Brad Arthur.

“Michael’s success in the game as a premiership-winner and in representative rugby league is obvious, and he’ll be a real leader and mentor to some of the younger outside backs we have in our NRL squad,” Arthur said.

“I look forward to what he can bring to Parramatta.”

Long-term longevity was an important part in the move for Jennings’ and whilst he will miss the Roosters, he knows that this is the best move for his career.

“While I’m sad to be leaving, I know it’s the right call for my long-term future and I’m excited about that,” said Jennings.

“I’m a better person for my time at the Roosters. From Robbo and all the staff and players, I’ve been part of a great family at the Club.

I’ve made some lifelong friends over the last three years and the Roosters will always be special to me,” he added.

The Roosters gave their thanks to Jennings for his service to the club, and coach Trent Robinson praised the work of Jennings over the last couple of seasons.

“Jenko is a good man and I’ve loved coaching him. He’s had a big impact on the development of some of the younger players at the Roosters, and his contribution will live long in the memories of everyone associated with the Club,” said Robinson.

“I know I speak on behalf of everyone associated with the Roosters in wishing Jenko and his wife Kirra all the very best,” he added.

Eels keep it in-house as Boulous is appointed full-time CEO

John Boulous

Filling in as a temporary CEO after the sacking of a former CEO, John Boulous has become the club’s new official CEO with the club confirming the appointment.

There was praise galore for the work that Boulous had done as acting CEO by club Chairman Steve Sharp.

“John has been doing a fantastic job as Acting CEO and has played an integral role in establishing the club’s new strategic plan for the next five years and the club’s commitment to governance realignment,” Sharp said.

“He lives and breathes our club values and I am very confident he will do an outstanding job as our CEO.”

With clear strategies and intentions for the club in mind moving forward to make them bigger and better, Sharp believes Boulous is the man that can help them achieve it all.

“The Parramatta Eels have a very proud history and a large Membership and supporter base that deserves stability and forward-thinking in its management, and John will be able to deliver that,” Sharp said.

“The club engaged external consultants to review the position and John’s suitability, and based on the strong results received from this process and his experience, the Board believe John is the best candidate to lead the club into a new and exciting period.”

Having worked with the Football Federation Australia and Cricket Australia in the past, Boulous previously worked at the Eels as their Chief Operating Officer. With the new role now confirmed, he is eager to start.

“It has always been a privilege to be part of the Parramatta Eels, and it is a great honour to have the opportunity to lead the club into what are exciting times,” Boulous said.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our Board, staff, stakeholders, players and our Members to bring our club’s strategic plan to life.”