Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

2015 NRL Trials

There is never a dull moment in rugby league and whilst it might currently be pre-season, the planning and preparation for 2015 already begins as clubs announce trial games.

With the Auckland Nines to be played yet again, some shine may be taken off the trials but clubs will be sure to use it as a means to test new recruits and welcome back some players. For players, they just want to make a good impression on their coach.

So, without further adieu, here are the trials confirmed for 2015 to date:

Saturday February 7

Gold Coast Titans v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLgldwar); Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba. Kick-off: TBA.
North Queensland Cowboys v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLnqlbri); Virgin Australia Stadium, Mackay. Kick-off: TBA.
Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm (#NRLcanmel); EW Moore Oval, Griffith. Kick-off: TBA.

Saturday February 14

#R2R South Sydney Rabbitohs v Northern Pride (#NRLsounor); Redfern Oval, Redfern. Kick-off: TBA.
New Zealand Warriors v Penrith Panthers (#NRLnewpen); Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua. Kick-off: 3pm.

Saturday February 21

Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLgldnql); Barlow Park, Cairns. Kick-off: TBA.
Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights (#NRLcannew); Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan. Kick-off: 6:30pm.

Eels prop released and will join Hull KR

Mitch Allgood

Moving on from a team is part and parcel of the game and with the Parramatta Eels strengthening their forward pack, players can often become surplus to requirements.

For Mitch Allgood, a local from Penrith that has played out the majority of his rugby league career at the Eels, he has been granted a release from the club.

The release has allowed him to embark on a new challenge and sign with English Super League club, Hull KR, for the next three seasons.

With 70 games for the Eels under his belt, Allgood has relished every opportunity and looks forward to the challenges ahead.

“I’ve been at the Eels since I was a teenager and this place has been my home over the last seven years, and it¹s sad to be leaving,” Allgood said.

“But at the same time, I’m excited and looking forward to this new opportunity I have to play at Hull KR.”

“I’ve made a lot of lifetime mates and I’m very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had at this club, and I wish nothing but success for all the boys in the coming season.”

As for Hull KR, they are pleased to have signed Allgood, with the need for a prop evident after some earlier player rotation.

“Mitch is a big, strong and athletic prop with a good leg drive who will really add a lot to our pack next season,” said Hull KR coach, Chris Chester.

“We lost a bit of power up front from last year’s squad but with Ryan Bailey and now Mitch coming in, we’re really pleased with finding two high quality front rowers.

With Allgood and Ryan Bailey joining the side, Chester is confident that Hull KR have a strong, mobile and athletic pack heading into 2015.

“Like Ryan, Mitch will bring plenty of size and aggression out on the pitch but he is a great bloke off the field as well. He comes here at a good age and for the right reasons so we are delighted to have him on board,” said Chester.

“We’ve got some depth in the forwards for next season which is important, but we also feel we’ve got a more athletic pack capable of playing big minutes if they need to.”

Adjusting to the English life will be made slightly easier for Allgood, especially with former team-mate Ken Sio also joining the club.

Sio knows Allgood well and had nothing but praise for the young, talented prop.

“He’s a big bloke with explosive power but he can play big minutes so you get the best of both with him whenever he’s on the pitch or on the training paddock,” said Sio.

“He gives it his all on the field but off it he’s the nicest giant ever. Once you cross that white line, it’s game time and he’s in there 110 per cent but it’s important that everybody gets on in the squad and he’ll fit right into that.

“It will be good to have him over here, he’s a top player and he really looked after me at the Eels so hopefully I can help him settle in when he gets here.”

Released Titans hooker heads South to the Roosters

Matt Srama

Surprisingly released by the Gold Coast Titans after he was told that he was no longer wanted, Matt Srama was left unsure as to where his future was.

Fast forward to today, though, and the former Titans hooker has a new club to call home, the Sydney Roosters.

With a long-term injury to Jake Friend and uncertainty over whether he will start the season, Srama has been signed by the Roosters as hooker back-up for 1 season.

The immediate release means that Srama is free to train immediately with the club and with 62 games in the NRL to date, Roosters Recruitment Manager Peter O’Sullivan is looking forward to having Srama on board.

“Matt’s opportunities have been hindered by injury but he’s in terrific shape,” said O’Sullivan.

“A tough and uncompromising player, Matt’s experience and talent will add great depth to our squad.”

A Kiwi and a Samoan sign with the Sharks

Gerard Beale

The last 12 months have been hell for the Cronulla Sharks but in a sign that they mean business, their squad has been strengthened by the addition of Gerard Beale and Kyle Stanley.

Beale, who is a Kiwi international, still had one year left to run on his contract with the St George Illawarra Dragons but with their recent signings, he was allowed to depart.

Beale has signed a 3-year deal with the club and offers handy versatility as a back-line player and will give the Sharks some much needed experience.

The move was an easy one for Beale as he lives in the area, and he is excited to be a part of a club that he believes is moving forward.

“The Sharks are a club on the rise and I’m excited about this opportunity and to playing with them over the next three seasons,” Beale said.

“Add to that I’ve been living in the area for a little while now, my family is happy and settled and I’m really looking forward to the next few years.”

As for Stanley, who has signed for one season with the Sharks, recent knee injuries in successive seasons has cruelled him of playing regular first-grade but with a new chance comes an opportunity for him to succeed.

Stanley also offers plenty of versatility across the park and Sharks coach Shane Flanagan believe the duo can make a positive difference to the side.

“With Gerard, it is exciting to be adding a player to our roster with his speed and skill, someone who is a test player and can cover a few different positions for us in the outside backs,” Flanagan said.

“As for Kyle, he has versatility, can play multiple positions and he gained some valuable experience with Samoa at an international level in the Four Nations.

“I’m sure we haven’t seen the best of him yet due to a bad run with injury but that is behind him and I can see 2015 being be a big year for Kyle.”

Kyle Stanley

Secret no more as Warriors centre heads North and signs with the Dragons

Dane Nielsen

The man himself would admit that it was a bit of a turbulent period for him across the Tasman in New Zealand but Dane Nielsen has a chance to find a new home and perform.

He can do so, having signed with the St George Illawarra Dragons on a 2-year deal.

Representing Queensland some years ago and enjoying a quality stint with the Melbourne Storm before his move to the Warriors, he was granted an early release to join the Dragons.

Eager to see what Nielsen can do, Dragons coach Paul McGregor is well aware of Nielsen’s abilities and looks forward to having him in the side.

“An opportunity has arisen to acquire the services of Dane who is eager to meet his new teammates and commence pre-season training,” said Head Coach Paul McGregor.

“He is a Premiership-winning centre who has played representative football for Queensland and will provide great value and experience to our squad.”

As for the Warriors releasing him, it was a mutual decision and allows Nielsen to continue his NRL career with a chance of playing regular first-grade.

“As we did with Feleti and Jayson, we’ve reached a decision to let Dane go so he can continue his career in Australia,” said Vodafone Warriors general manager football Dean Bell.

“This is all part of the process we’re working through as Cappy (McFadden) seeks to reshape the NRL squad the way we believe will best serve the club’s needs.”

Panthers hooker moves closer to home by signing with the Titans

Kierran Moseley

He played a big part in the Penrith Panthers NSW Cup grand final win and in the Holden Cup grand final before that but it is time for a new challenge for Kierran Moseley.

Hailing from Cloncurry, Mt Isa – the first player from the area to make it as far as he has – Moseley has signed with the Gold Coast Titans on a 2-year deal that sees him move closer to home.

With his NRL chances restricted given the scintillating play of James Segeyaro, Moseley often came off the bench in the NSW Cup behind veteran Kevin Kingston.

With a new challenge ahead of him, Moseley will not be alone, with former coach Rohan Smith now at the Titans as well as former Panthers Ryan Simpkins and Matt Robinson.

“I’m thankful for Penrith letting me head back to Queensland to look for an opportunity to play in the NRL and I want to make the most of it,” Moseley said.

“It will be great to link up against with [assistant coach] Rohan Smith who was Garth Brennan’s assistant when we won the 20s competition in 2012 and also James Roberts.

To have Ryan Simpkins and Matt Robinson, who I played with this year at the Panthers, here too will hopefully help me settle in.”

Kiwis overcome odds and win their second Four Nations title

Shaun Johnson

Despite a late Australian comeback, it was not enough, as the New Zealand Kiwis won 22-18 at Westpac Stadium to take out their second Four Nations title.

After winning the Four Nations in 2010, it was a bit of a wait to win the next one but the Kiwis have done it and for the first time in 61 years, the Kiwis won consecutive games against the Kangaroos.

It was a topsy-turvy game with both sides giving away nothing, with only individual skill breaking through and leading to tries.

Both sides were sturdy in defence and worked hard to create opportunities and limit the other team from scoring, resulting in a hard-fought game.

There was a sour note to the game, though, with Kiwis prop Martin Taupau leaving the field with a suspected neck injury.

The game nearly turned on its head when Sione Mata’utia crossed the line in what looked to be a late try for the Kangaroos but it was called back for a forward pass earlier in the play.

Despite the loss, Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens was pleased with his side’s effort and praised their courage.

“They played very well, I was very proud of my guys and their courage, they did the jumper proud,” Sheens said.

“We were a little inexperienced and a couple of things went against us and that is all it takes in these sorts of games.

“We just didn’t get the ball where we needed it at times and we used up a lot of juice defending our own line there so it was hard going.”

“That defence on goal-line second half…that game could have blown out but it didn’t and we gave ourselves a second chance and nearly snagged it.

“At the end of the day I suppose we ran out of a bit of time.”

Man-of-the-match Shaun Johnson said that although he did play very well, had it not been for the Kiwi forwards, he would not have been able to play as well as he did.

“As a half there is no way I could have jumped on the back of it if they [the forwards] weren’t doing that,” said Johnson, who busted the game open in the 58th minute with his 40-metre try.

“They have been doing it for a few weeks now and I am just glad I could execute when I got that chance off the back of it.

“There were some really tough carries that had to be made out there and the forwards just kept delivering.

“I thought the forwards did a really good job laying the platform.”

He also praised the Australian side for maintaining the pressure on him throughout the game.

“Obviously the kicking game was always going to be pretty important and I thought they did a good job with putting some pressure on me.

“But again it was how we reacted to it. We still got a kick up and the boys really chased well. I thought ‘Foz’ (Kieran Foran) really led the kick chase well again tonight and sort of set that standard for us.”

New Zealand 22 (Manu Vatuvei 2, Jason Nightingale, Shaun Johnson tries; Shaun Johnson 3 goals) defeated Australia 18 (Michael Jennings, Sione Mata’utia, Ben Hunt tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) at Westpac Stadium. Crowd: 25,093.

Brothers Kennedy unite at Canberra

Rhys Kennedy

It is always good to play at a club when you have a sibling there with you and that is the case for the Canberra Raiders, with Rhys Kennedy joining older brother Jarrad Kennedy at the club.

Still only 20, Kennedy joins the club from the Melbourne Storm for 2 years, a club where he made his mark as a bullocking prop.

For the youngster, he is excited to be at the club and alongside his brother.

“It’s good to get up here and I suppose it’s a big change from Melbourne,” said Kennedy.

“It’s a big move and Melbourne is a lot busier with the lifestyle but it’s a lot closer to home [Tuross Heads] and it allows me to focus on my footy a bit more.

The brotherly love was a big factor behind Kennedy’s move, as was the development process at the Raiders in procuring talented young players.

“Having some older and with a bit more experience in the NRL like my brother, I can learn off him and get feedback off him,” said Kennedy.

“Ricky is forming a good culture and moving up here is a better fit for myself.”

Front-row is one of the harder positions to play and developing into a front-line prop takes time, but Kennedy is looking forward to getting himself into that position.

“You’ve got to be more developed as a front-rower so I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work,” said Kennedy.

“I’ll probably have to start in the NSW Cup for a few years or one year – whatever it takes – and make the most of my opportunities.”

“My aim is to keep working hard and make the most of it all.”

Tongan prop returns to Australia and signs with the Bulldogs

Antonio Kaufusi

After stints in the English Super League with the Bradford Bulls, the London Broncos and the Huddersfield Giants, former NRL prop Antonio Kaufusi returns, signing a 2-year deal with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Having played for the Melbourne Storm, the Newcastle Knights and the North Queensland Cowboys previously, the 29-year old is looking forward to the new challenge.

“The management staff have been awesome in helping me relocate here,” said Kaufusi.

“It’s great to be back and try to test myself again.”

For the veteran prop, he is excited to get to work and cement a spot of his own in the Bulldogs forward pack.

“It’s exciting that the boys have been involved in a few grand finals,” said Kaufusi.

“For myself, it’s about getting stuck in and putting my head down to work hard and trying to do my best for the start of the season.”

Kaufusi is also excited to play alongside the likes of Frank Pritchard and James Graham in the Dogs forward pack.

“They’ve got a great forward pack here at the club and I want to get in there and get my front foot forward,” said Kaufusi.

Equally pleased is Bulldogs coach Des Hasler, who knows that the signing of the veteran means additional depth for the club.

“Antonio is an experienced player and he will add some depth to our forward pack for next season, “Hasler said.

NRL veteran closes the curtain on his career

Bryce Gibbs

All players know when it is the right time to retire and that is a decision that Bryce Gibbs has made, with the NRL veteran calling time on his NRL career.

Playing for just 2 clubs his entire career – the Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks – the 197-game veteran will retire knowing it is the right decision for him.

He represented the City Origin side on four occasions and was quick to thank everyone that he was involved in, especially Tim Sheens for giving him an opportunity.

“I’ve decided to hit the eject button on my NRL career,” said Gibbs.

“I’ve had a great 12 years and would like to thank all the boys I’ve played with and Sheensy [Tim Sheens] for giving me a go when I was 18.”

Despite retiring from the NRL, it will not be the last that we see of Gibbs, as he looks forward to playing the game he loves elsewhere.

“Still going to play somewhere because the game I love gave me everything,” said Gibbs.