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Veteran centre Jennings extends Eels stay

Eels veteran centre Michael Jennings

In some of his best form in recent years, Michael Jennings will re-sign with the Parramatta Eels for two more seasons.

2021, a player option in Michael’s favour and 2022 an additional season.

Since making his debut in 2007, Jennings has achieved all there is to in the game and represented state and country.

The now veteran centre wants to stick around to help nurture and develop the next crop of kids at the Eels.

The Eels are pleased to see Jennings remain as a focal point of their side moving forward.

“I am very pleased to see Michael remain at the Eels,” said Eels General Manager of Football, Mark O’Neill.

“He is a very popular member of our squad and is currently playing some the best football of his career.

Similarly, in an off-field capacity Michael appears to be thriving with a great life balance and strong family support network.

I have no doubt that this news will be as warmly welcomed by our members and fans as it was by our players and staff.”

 

 

Bulldogs re-sign two more as Wakeham and Faitala-Mariner etch new deals

Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner

With a coach for 2021 locked in, the Canterbury Bulldogs now need the roster and have re-signed duo Brandon Wakeham and Raymond Faitala-Mariner.

Both Wakeham and Faitala-Mariner have signed new two year deals until the of 2022.

Wakeham, a Chester Hill Hornets junior, has shown some promise and emerges as a halves talent moving forward.

For Faitala-Mariner, a Kiwi international, hard work pays off as he is now a regular in the starting back-row.

The Bulldogs aim moving forward is to surround their side with quality and depth across all positions.

“As part of our focus on developing quality and depth in our playing squad, we are delighted that we have been able to keep two talented young players at Belmore for the next two seasons,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“Wakeham is a local junior who has shown the talent he has at both NRL and International level with Fiji.

“While Faitala-Mariner is the type of hard-running forward that provides us with great energy whenever he is on the field.”

Hill expects both players to be successful at the club over the next couple of seasons.

“Both players are part of a long term plan to make sure that we keep bringing quality young players through our system and continue to develop them as they form the nucleus of our squad going forward,” Hill continued.

“We are confident that both players will have a major impact for the club in the seasons ahead.”

Canterbury Bulldogs half Brandon Wakeham

Raiders strengthen back-row with signing of Harawira-Naera effective immediately

Newly signed Canberra Raiders back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera

Granted an immediate release by the Canterbury Bulldogs, the Canberra Raiders have pounced and signed back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera.

After his incident in Port Macquarie, Harawira-Naera felt like a fresh start was needed and Canberra are the beneficiaries.

Harawira-Naera joins the Bulldogs effective immediately, in addition to signing on until the end of 2022.

Once he passes all NRL Apollo protocols, Harawira-Naera will be allowed into the Raiders bubble.

Club CEO Don Furner is pleased to sign a player of Harawira-Naera’s quality.

“Corey is a very talented player who’s played representative football for New Zealand and we’re looking forward to having him join the club for the next two and half years,” Furner said.

“He will join the squad for training once he’s been cleared by the Apollo committee and then its up to the coaching staff to work out when he may play his first game for the club.”

Emerging Dragons prop Kerr signs new long-term deal

St George Illawarra Dragons prop Josh Kerr

Highly rated by St George Illawarra Dragons fans, they will see plenty more of Josh Kerr after he re-signed for a further three years.

Kerr, who has played mostly off the bench, has made quite an impact on the field and in the eyes of Dragons fans.

The new deal will see Kerr remain at the Dragons until the end of the 2023 season.

With 17 NRL games to date and two appearances for the Indigenous All-Stars, Kerr is pleased to stay with the Dragons.

“This new deal is something I’ve been working towards for a while now,” Kerr said.

“To extend my time with the Dragons for another three years is what dreams are made of.

“I’ve been at the Dragons almost four years now, and the culture that’s been built in that period has been incredible.

“To be sticking around is something special. I feel at home.”

Kerr wants to make sure he is improving every week and thanked coach Paul McGregor for the opportunities.

“I’m very grateful for everything the Dragons have done for me,” Kerr continued.

“It’s been a long and tough journey but the club, Mary (coach Paul McGregor), the coaching and performance staff have stuck by me and shown a lot of faith in me.

“I’m lucky that I have been able to start repaying them now [on the field].

“It’s time now to keep chipping away at my craft and make sure I’m getting better every week.”

Ian Millward, the Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways, believes Kerr can become a focal point of the club’s forward pack.

“Josh has real character about him off the field and we are very excited that he has made this commitment to the Dragons,” said Millward.

“All through negotiations, it was clear he wanted to remain with the club despite the interest from numerous clubs.”

Bulldogs get their man as Barrett becomes the new coach

Newly appointed Canterbury Bulldogs coach Trent Barrette

The speculation lingered for an eternity but the Canterbury Bulldogs have now confirmed Trent Barrett as their new coach.

After sacking Dean Pay, the search was on for a replacement and the former Manly Sea Eagles coach in Barrett, got the nod.

Barrett joins as coach on a three-year deal from 2021.

Currently an assistant at the Penrith Panthers, Barrett thanked the Bulldogs for the opportunity.

“I’d like to thank the Canterbury-Bankstown Club for appointing me to the position of Head Coach and for giving me the opportunity to become part of the Bulldogs family,” Barrett said.

“The Club has a long and proud history of success in Rugby League and is a Club founded on strong work ethics and family values.

“I look forward to, and am excited by, the challenges ahead in terms of making this Club a serious competition force again.”

With a bevvy of coaches to choose from, the Bulldogs believe Barrett is the right man for them moving forward.

“We have acted swiftly to secure the services of Trent because we believe he is the right man to take our club forward,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“Having spoken to Trent on a number of occasions, we have been impressed with his vision for the future of our football team and how he will look to develop our players on and off the field.”

Good form sees Sele earn new Rabbitohs contract

South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Hame Sele

Joining the South Sydney Rabbitohs this year, Hame Sele impressed the club and they have now re-signed him until the end of 2023.

Sele, who has 29 games to his name in the NRL so far, made his debut back in 2017 for the St George Illawarra Dragons.

His versatility in the forwards is an asset the Rabbitohs have embraced and Sele says he has found a new home.

“The guys here, the players and staff, have really welcomed me and I’m honoured to be able to call the Rabbitohs home,” Sele said.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given here, going from having nothing at the end of last season to be signing on for this year and then the next three after that.”

Sele looks forward to playing in front of the Rabbitohs faithful in the future.

“We haven’t been able to play in front of many of the Members this year so I look forward to getting out in front of them in the years ahead,” Sele continued.

“I’m really proud to call myself a South Sydney Rabbitohs player.”

The feelings were the same from the club with Head of Football Mark Ellison praising Sele for his consistency in 2020.

“Hame has been a welcome addition to our pack this year and we’re really excited about extending his contract here at Souths,” Mr Ellison said.

“He has consistently been one of our best performers throughout this 2020 season.

“His attitude around the Club along with his on-field performances have earned him this contract extension.”

Bulldogs receive huge signing boost for 2021 with addition of Cotric

Newly signed Canterbury Bulldogs winger Nick Cotric

The Canterbury Bulldogs needed some backline firepower and they have found it, signing Nick Cotric from the Canberra Raiders.

With speed, size and a try-scoring knack, Cotric has signed on at the Bulldogs for three seasons from 2021.

With 37 tries so far in his 80 games, Cotric has also represented both NSW and Australia so far in his career.

On the back of the signing of Luke Thompson, the Bulldogs are confident they are headed in the right direction once more.

“Signing a player of Nick’s ability and class is a massive boost for our club moving forward and another step in strengthening our squad to lead us into the future,” said Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill.

With Luke Thompson having joined us and Nick now bringing some great strike power to our backline, I am confident that we are constructing the quality of squad that can produce the results we are looking for in the coming seasons.”

Saifiti and Newcastle come to terms on a new contract

Newcastle Knights prop Jacob Saifiti

One of the Newcastle Knights surprise packets along with brother Daniel, Jacob Saifiti has been rewarded for his form with a new deal.

Saifiti, who has become an important player in the Knights system under Adam O’Brien, re-signs until the end of the 2022 season.

There was no mincing words from Saifiti, who made it clear that he wanted to stay at the club.

“I made it clear to my manager from the start that I didn’t want to leave and that Newcastle is home to me,” Saifiti said.

“It’s where I want to spend the rest of my career.”

Saifiti praised new coach Adam O’Brien for the faith he has shown in him this season.

“I want to make our coach Adam O’Brien proud,” Saifiti continued.

“He’s put a lot of faith in me and given me confidence to play consistent football this year.

“I have stability for me and my partner, I’m only an hour away from home and in the end, it was an easy decision.”

With over 60 NRL games to his name to date and a Fijian international, Saifiti is the sort of player that O’Brien wants to have around.

“What he’s done on the field has been outstanding and his best footy is still in front of him,” O’Brien said.

“He debuted young and has been through some tough years. A lot of people forget that he’s only in his early 20s.”

O’Brien’s aim is to keep a large group of the players together but he knew that keeping the Saifiti brothers was an important piece.

“In a perfect world, you’d like to keep this entire roster together but keeping Jacob and Daniel together long-term was of high importance to me,” O’Brien continued.

“Not only because of the bond they share as brothers but the bond they both have with the group.

“Jacob could’ve easily got more money elsewhere, but he’s remained loyal to his teammates and Club.

“With traits like that, he’s someone who will feel the rewards of his loyalty down the road.”

The Saifiti brothers made history by becoming the first set of twins in the game’s history to debut together.

Both Jacob and his brother Daniel can now continue their rugby league journey together at the Knights.

NRL Teams Rd 11

Newcastle Knights centre Bradman Best

 

 

 

 

We are officially in the second part of the reduced season and so much is happening. 

Elite teams still sit high and mighty, teams try to avoid the dreaded spoon and the middle of the table is packed.

With every game meaning something for finals aspirations, just who can get over the line in round 11?

Here are the teams for round 11 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers (#NRLEelsTigers); Bankwest Stadium, Sydney; Thursday, July 23. Kick-off: 7:50 pm. 

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Andrew Davey 15. Marata Niukore 16. Stefano Utoikamnau 17. Brad Takairangi.

Reserves: 18. David Gower 19. George Jennings 20. Daniel Alvaro 21. Jai Field.

Coach: Brad Arthur

Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Chris Lawrence 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Billy Walters 7. Benji Marshall (C) 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Russell Packer 11. Michael Chee-Kam 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Matthew Eisenhuth.

Interchange: 14. Sam McIntyre 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Luke Brooks 17. Chris McQueen.

Reserves: 18. Oliver Clark 19. Elijah Taylor 20. Shawn Blore 21. Alex Seyfarth.

Coach: Michael Maguire.


North Queensland Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLCowboysManly); Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville; Friday, July 24. Kick-off; 6 pm.

Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Connelly Lemuelu 4. Esan Marsters 5. Justin O’Neill 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Reece Robson 10. Francis Molo 11. Shane Wright 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Mitchell Dunn 15. Tom Gilbert 16. Gavin Cooper 17. Reuben Cotter.

Reserves: 18. Murray Taulagi 19. Ben Hampton 20. Jordan McLean 21. Emry Pere.

Coach: Josh Hannay

Manly: 1. Brendan Elliott 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka.

Reserves: 18. Corey Waddell 19. Tevita Funa 20. Abbas Miski 21. Haumole Olakau’atu.

Coach: Des Hasler.


Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm (#NRLBroncosStorm); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Friday, July 24. Kick-off: 7:55 pm. 

Broncos: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Herbie Farnworth 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Xavier Coates 6. Brodie Croft 7. Tom Dearden 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Cory Paix 10. Payne Haas 11. Joe Ofahengaue 12. Tevita Pangai Jnr. 13. Patrick Carrigan (C).

Interchange: 14. Tyson Gamble 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Jamil Hopoate 17. Ben Te’o.

Reserves: 18. Richard Kennar 19. Ethan Bullemor 20. Pride Petterson-Robati 21. Kobe Hetherington.

Coach: Anthony Seibold.

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Paul Momirovski 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Brandon Smith 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Marion Seve 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Albert Vete 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Reserves: 18. Chris Lewis 19. Suliasi Vunivalu 20. Ryley Jacks 21. Darryn Schonig.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.


New Zealand Warriors v Sydney Roosters (#NRLWarriorsRoosters); Central Coast Stadium, Gosford; Saturday, July 25. Kick-off: 3 pm.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Adam Pompey 4. Peta Hiku 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Blake Green 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga.

Interchange: 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita 15. Adam Blair 16. Isaiah Papali’i 17. Lachlan Burr.

Reserves: 18. Jack Murchie 19. Josh Curran 20. Adam Keighran 21. Patrick Herbert.

Coach: Todd Payten.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Matt Ikuvalu 3. Josh Morris 4. Joey Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Mitch Aubusson 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Lachlan Lam 15. Sitili Tupouniua 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins.

Reserves: 18. Poasa Faamausili 19. Ryan Hall 20. David Fifita 21. Drew Hutchison.

Coach: Trent Robinson.


Cronulla Sharks v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLSharksDragons); Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah; Saturday, July 25. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Siosifa Talakai 12. Wade Graham (C) 13. Toby Rudolf.

Interchange: 14. Connor Tracey 15. Jack Williams 16. Teig Wilton 17. Royce Hunt.

Reserves: 18. Billy Magoulias 19. Bryson Goodwin 20. Daniel Vasquez 21. Braydon Trindall.

Coach: John Morris.

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jason Saab 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Ben Hunt 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tyrell Fuimaono 13. Cameron McInnes (C).

Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin 15. Josh Kerr 16. Jacob Host 17. Jackson Ford.

Reserves: 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Billy Brittain 21. Korbin Sims.

Coach: Paul McGregor.


Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLRaidersRabbitohs); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Saturday, July 25. Kick-off: 7:35 pm. 

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Jordan Rapana 5. Semi Valemei 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Kai O’Donnell

Interchange: 14. Tom Starling 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Harley Smith-Shields.

Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Darby Medlyn 20. Matt Frawley 21. John Bateman.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Corey Allan 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds (C) 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’a 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray.

Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Hame Sele 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jack Johns.

Reserves: 18. Kurt Dillon 19. Keaon Koloamatangi 20. Troy Dargan 21. Steven Marsters.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.


Newcastle Knights v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLKnightsBulldogs); McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle; Sunday, July 26. Kick-off: 2 pm. 

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Tautau Moga 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitch Pearce (C) 8. David Klemmer 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Herman Ese’ese.

Interchange: 14. Connor Watson 15. Mitch Barnett 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Sione Mata’utia.

Reserves: 18. Tex Hoy 19. Josh King 20. Phoenix Crossland 21. Gehamat Shibasaki.

Coach: Adam O’Brien.

Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Jake Averillo 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson.

Interchange: 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Sione Katoa 16. Renouf To’Omaga 17. Ofahiki Ogden.

Reserves: 19. Dean Britt 20. Reimis Smith 21. Chris Smith 22. Jack Cogger.

Coach: Steve Georgallis.


Gold Coast Titans v Penrith Panthers (#NRLTitansPanthers); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Sunday, July 26. Kick-off: 4:05 pm.

Titans: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Dale Copley 5. Philip Sami 6. Ash Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor (C) 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Jarrod Wallace.

Reserves: 18. Sam Stone 19. Nathan Peats 20. Treymain Spry 21. Jai Whitbread.

Coach: Justin Holbrook

Panthers: 1. Caleb Aekins 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo.

Interchange: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Billy Burns.

Reserves: 18. Matt Burton 19. Daine Laurie 20. Lindsay Smith 21. Pat Hollis.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.


 

Lafai granted release by Dragons to rejoin Bulldogs

Newly signed Canterbury Bulldogs centre Tim Lafai

Things may not have ended as planned at the St George Illawarra Dragons for Tim Lafai but he will return to a place he knows well, the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Joining the Dragons back in 2016, Lafai would go on to play 91 NRL games for the club, mostly at centre.

Still only 29, the Samoan international has been given an early release to rejoin the club where it all began.

Bulldogs fans have been crying out for some experience and Lafai will provide that in the centres.

The club was quick to thank Lafai for his contributions to the club.

“As a club, we were comfortable with the decision for Tim to shore up his long-term future at another NRL club,” Director of rugby league pathways Ian Millward said.

“Tim has been an outstanding representative for St George Illawarra over the past five seasons.

“The decision to release him was based on the merit of the capabilities within our squad, and not in consideration of any trade deals, as has been falsely reported.”

Lafai will link up with his Bulldogs teammates today and has 165 NRL appearances overall to his name.