Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Bulldogs secure Smith for two more seasons

Canterbury Bulldogs utility back Reimis Smith

Eager to build their roster early, the Canterbury Bulldogs have retained talented utility back Reimis Smith until 2021. 

Smith, who has most recently played for the Kiwis at the World Cup Nines, is a talented and versatile back.

Playing in a total of 23 games in 2019 for the Bulldogs, Smith has continued to impress fans across the NRL.

As they look to rebuild their side and culture, and build on a late season run of form, the Bulldogs are primed for an assault.

Bulldogs Coach Dean Pay knows the worth of Smith and is pleased to have retained him.

“Reimis is a great young talent and he gives us options in the backline as he is able to play both wing and centre,” said Pay.

He has shown an ability to score tries and be a great finisher, but we have also been pleased with the overall development of his game in the past two years.

We are all about building for the future and having Reimis be part of that is exciting for everyone involved at the club.”

Contract extension for Knights NSW prop Saifiti

Newcastle Knights prop Daniel Saifiti

2019 was somewhat of a memorable year for Daniel Saifiti; games galore and an Origin berth for NSW and the Newcastle Knights have rewarded him with a new deal.

Already signed for 2020, his contract extension will see one half of the Saifiti twins stay on until the end of 2022.

Although the Knights have a topsy turvy 2019 season under Nathan Brown, new coach Adam O’Brien is at the helm.

Saifiti is both keen to impress the new coach and grateful to the club for the opportunities.

“I’m so grateful for the faith the Club has shown in me,” Saifiti said.

“While there have been some tough times, we showed improvement this season and are getting better.

“We’ve signed some quality players in recent times and that has certainly helped with my development.”

Saifiti went on to say that he and his brother owe a lot to the Knights for taking a chance on them.

“I owe a lot to this club,” Saifiti continued.

“My brother Jacob and I came here as teenagers to play 20s and I’ve been living my dream ever since.

“We have something special here and a talented group of guys.

“I’m excited for what the future holds, not only for myself and my teammates but for our loyal fans. That’s why I re-signed.”

Sustained success and keeping a core together is the key and Knights CEO Philip Gardner praised the retention of Saifiti.

“Daniel is still only young but shows a maturity beyond his years,” Mr Gardner said.

“He’s a wonderful young man and exceptional player.

“This season we saw him take a giant step forward in developing into the player we all know he can become.

“His form deservedly saw him selected to play in two games for NSW in what was a successful State of Origin series.”

The Mundine name is back in rugby league as CJ signs with the Rabbitohs

Newly signed South Sydney Rabbitohs utility back CJ Mundine

Mundine, a name synonymous with rugby league. A name we will see more of, now that CJ Mundine has signed a two-year deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

CJ, the son of former rugby league player and Australian boxer Anthony, joins the Rabbitohs for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Initially a Dragons junior, the young utility back was reportedly highly sought after but Mundine chose the Bunnies.

It should come as no surprise that the Rabbitohs are pleased to have CJ and pleased for the Mundine name to remain associated with league.

“CJ is an outstanding prospect and we’re delighted to know he will be learning his trade at South Sydney,” said Rabbitohs General Manager of Football, Shane Richardson.

“He has shown plenty of promise in the junior representative grades, he had plenty of interest from other NRL clubs for his services.

“We couldn’t be happier to see him pick the Rabbitohs as his club of choice for his career development moving forward.”

Richardson made note of his sporting pedigree and history and looks forward to seeing Mundine develop within the club.

“He comes from a great pedigree with his father and grandfather both being fantastic athletes in Rugby League and Boxing,” Richardson continued.

“He has been brought up with great values in a strong family.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him develop in our system initially with our championship-winning under 20s squad and to see him live The Rabbitoh Way.”

Ramien returns to the Sharks

Returning Cronulla Sharks centre Jesse Ramien

After a tough time of sorts over in Newcastle, Jesse Ramien will return to the Cronulla Sharks, the club where it all began for him.

Back in 2017, Ramien made his debut for the club, before making the jump to Newcastle.

With his return to the Sharks now settled, Ramien is in it for the long haul with a four-year deal.

The emerging centre knows he has a lot to prove and he is ready to get stuck in and perform strongly in 2020.

“I’m stoked to be back in the black, white and blue, it’s a bit of a home coming,” Ramien said.

“I want to hit the ground running, I want to try to have a big year and I’ve got a bit of a point to prove.

“I know and have played with a lot of the boys, whether it was in the NRL, the 20’s or the NSW Cup and I think I probably played my best footy at the Sharks so I’m excited to be back.”

It should come as no surprise that Sharks coach John Morris is pleased to have Ramien back in blue, white and black.

“I am very excited to have Jesse Ramien back where he belongs, which is in Sharks colours,” Morris said.

“As his Holden Cup coach in 2016 and 2017, I developed a great bond with Jesse and love everything he brings, not only to our team on the field but off it as well.”

Morris continued to praise Ramien for his off-field exploits and knows how valuable of an asset he will be for the club.

He is a very good person and role model,” Morris continued.

“Jesse will certainly add to the experience and class of our backline and bring size, speed and X-factor that will change the way we play in 2020.”

Wolfpack score massive coup with signing of Williams

Newly signed Toronto Wolfpack star Sonny Bill Williams

He is a dual international, a dynamic ball-runner and people the world over know his name. Now, Sonny Bill Williams will don the Toronto Wolfpack colours.

In a huge coup for the Super League, the Wolfpack and Canadian rugby league, this two year deal is likely to change everything.

As the Wolfpack embark on their debut season in the Super League, coming out all guns blazing was the key.

Signing Williams sets them on the path to strong achievements and the man himself is excited at the challenge that lies ahead.

“Toronto Wolfpack is a club that represents Toronto which is a very multicultural city,” Williams said.

“The club has big ambitions and big goals. I want to be part of all this and do all I can to help reach those lofty goals.

“On the field, I’d like to bring high quality play and do all I can for the betterment of the team.”

Although his on-field efforts will be the ultimate key, Williams wants to help the younger generation and talent moving forward.

Off the field, I’d like to use my experience to mentor the young players and be helpful where I am needed,” Williams continued.

“Super league will be a new challenge and one I’m looking forward to. It will be a new experience and one I’m ready to embrace.”

Former Leeds Rhinos coach now at the helm of the Wolfpack, knows how big of a signing this is for the club.

“We have signed one of the highest profile rugby players, if not sports stars in the world,” McDermott said.

“He will enhance the world of rugby in Toronto and certainly push the brand of the Wolfpack onto another level.

“The main point of excitement for our club is that we are signing a great Rugby League player who has the hunger to be successful in Super League much as he was in the NRL and Rugby Union.”

Matterson returns home with Eels deal

Newly signed Parramatta Eels back-rower Ryan Matterson

Ryan Matterson has come full circle since he lost donned Parramatta Eels colours but the utility is back. 

Specialising in back-row but able to cover lock and five-eighth, Matterson will return to the Eels having left them several years ago for the Sydney Roosters.

With the Eels needing a hard-running back-rower to replace the departed Manu Ma’u, the Eels have their man.

The deal runs for three years which includes an option in 2022.

Eels coach Brad Arthur knows the value of hard workers and looks forward to Matterson joining pre-season training.

“It’s always great to see the return of a local Parramatta Eels junior,” Arthur said.

“He’ll have a whole pre-season with the team and I know he’ll be an asset to our Club next year.”

Lewis signs new Bulldogs deal

Canterbury Bulldogs half Lachlan Lewis

After a breakout year and impressing many Canterbury Bulldogs fans, half Lachlan Lewis has signed a new deal until the end of 2021.

With 24 NRL games to his name so far, 15 of which came in 2019, Lewis has emerged as a staple of the Canterbury side.

There was nothing but praise for Lewis as he continues to develop his game.

“Lachy is a great talent with unlimited potential and he is one of a number of young players that we think will form the basis of our squad going forward,” said Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill.

“He has shown great resilience on the field and also a real toughness in defence that has proven to be the basis of all great Bulldogs teams throughout our history.”

With the club excited about the direction they are heading in, Hill is pleased that Lewis wants to be a part of that.

“It is great for the club and our members and fans that Lachy wants to be part of what we are building here and we are all excited about the direction this club is heading,” the CEO continued.

Watene-Zelezniak signs new Bulldogs deal

Canterbury Bulldogs utility back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

Joining the Canterbury Bulldogs last season, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak quickly impressed the club and the Bulldogs fans. 

In a boost for him and the club, a new deal has been awarded to the utility back until the end of 2022.

There were no qualms from the club about how effortlessly Watene-Zelezniak has fit in with their culture.

“Dallin is a quality individual who has really fitted into the Bulldogs culture on and off the field,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“His performances in the fullback role were outstanding last season and he also brings a level of leadership that has greatly enhanced our team.”

A well-liked player among his peers, the club are hopeful that Watene-Zelezniak can go from strength to strength.

“We are delighted that he has committed his future to our club and that he has bought into our values,” continued Hill.

“He is extremely well respected around the playing group and we look forward to seeing him continue to flourish next season.”

Parramatta Eels re-sign five players for 2020

Parramatta Eels forward David Gower

Looking to build on their performances in 2020, the Parramatta Eels continue to round out their roster with some new re-signings.

Four players; Brad Takairangi, David Gower, Ray Stone and Andrew Davey, have all been retained for 2020.

Back-rower Marata Niukore has been given a contract extension until the end of the 2022 season.

In a good place in terms of personnel and where the team is at, coach Brad Arthur is pleased with the club’s direction.

“We’re really happy to be in a position to retain our players.

“There’s a lot of NRL experience amongst them which is valuable to our young group of players, and for the juniors coming through.”

Parramatta Eels utility Brad Takairangi

Great Britain continue to struggle in their Oceania tour against the Kiwis

New Zealand halfback Kieran Foran

The second match of our triple header comes as part of Great Britain Lions’ Oceania tour.

They’ll be taking on the New Zealand Kiwis in New Zealand. This is the first of two clashes between the 2 sides with the next one next week in Christchurch.

The only late change is Brandon Smith has been dropped so Kodi Nikorima started at hooker.

Kickoff

We had some great free-flowing football with no errors in the first 5 minutes.

6 minutes into the game, Kieran Foran would go down with a shoulder injury.

The worst fears were confirmed; Foran suffered a dislocated shoulder and may face a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

A couple minutes later, the Kiwis opened the scoring with a penalty goal from the boot of the Brisbane Broncos winger, Jamayne Isaako.

10 minutes later, the Lions received a penalty close to the Kiwis line.

Warrington Wolves half, Gareth Widdop added the 2 points for the penalty goal to level the scores at 2-all.

English half Gareth Widdop

Completions were 100% at this points and they remained like this until the 25th minute, when Kenny Bromwich dropped it.

The rest of the half was filled with errors and penalties as we went into the break 2-all.

Half time

New Zealand 2 – 2 Great Britain

After a try-less first half, both teams would be looking for some better attack in the second stanza.

10 minutes in, we got exactly that with the Kiwis with possession, 5 metres inside their own half.

Warriors fullback, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck dummied through and went himself!

The fullback got to him but he threw a magical flick pass out the back to Jamayne Isaako who scored in the corner for the first try of the game.

New Zealand Kiwis fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Isaako hooked the goal across the face so the lead remained 6-2.

On the very next set, 25m out on the last tackle, Nikorima gave it to Marshall to put the kick in.

It was a lacklustre kick but Sharks second rower Briton Nikora ran through and toed it along the ground for the try.

On video review, it was revealed that Nikora just knocked the ball on before his first kick. The game remained a 1 score game.

A few minutes later, Great Britain gave away a penalty which gave New Zealand great field position.

10 metres out, on the 4th tackle, they gave it to BulldogssSecond rower, Corey Harawira-Naera for the hitup.

He carried 4 defenders with him as he powered his legs for 10 metres to score the try.

The video ref confirmed it and they had a 10-2 lead.

New Zealand Kiwis back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera

Jamayne Isaako converted from just to the left to make the lead 12-2.

With 20 minutes left, we had our first flare-up of the game.

James Graham was in the thick of it but the penalty would go to Great Britain for a late shot on him which made tempers flare.

Just a minute later, tempers flared again but this time it was Raiders second rower John Bateman vs Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

The ref had a word with both captains and gave the warning of using the bin.

A few minutes later, Corey Harawira-Naera was taken off for a HIA.

With 10 minutes left, Great Britain received a penalty in great field position, only 5 metres out.

St Helens prop Alex Walmsley took the hit up, only for Briton Nikora to strip it in a 3-man tackle.

Nikora lost it and Warrington Wolves Hooker, Daryl Clark picked it up and went over for the try.

Great Britain hooker Daryl Clark

Gareth Widdop converted from the left side to lower the deficit to 12-8.

With less than 4 minutes left, Huddersfield Giants winger, Jermaine McGillvary dived over in the corner to level the scores and gave them a chance to win the game.

However, the video ref denied the try due to McGillvary dropping it in goal.

The kiwis held on for the rest of the game.

Full time

New Zealand 12 – 8 Great Britain

Great Britain lose their second out of two games in their Oceania tour.

They’re still in New Zealand to face the Kiwis again next week in Christchurch.

Will the Kiwis go 2-0 or will the Lions finally win a match on their tour?

Find out next week on Saturday Night, 8PM local time.