Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Rabbitohs halves duo re-sign in huge boost for the club

Adam Reynolds

It was a long time coming but the speculation can finally cease, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs confirming that both Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary have signed new deals with the club.

The duo, who were linked with moves away at differing times, will play together in the halves from 2015. Reynolds re-signed until 2017 and Keary until 2016, with the duo set to excite fans with some enticing play.

The move is one that has coach Michael Maguire pleased, who is looking forward to seeing the duo playing alongside each other in the halves over the next few seasons.

“Adam and Luke have grown together as players in our halves and have become an integral part of our team over the past two seasons that they have been playing together,” Coach Maguire said.

“It’s exciting for us and our Members to see two of the brightest young halves prospects commit to the Club and show that they see their future in the red and green, so I couldn’t be happier about these agreements.

“They can now concentrate on preparing themselves for the season ahead which promises to be an exciting one for everyone in the Rabbitohs family.”

The red and green colours are all Reynolds has ever known and he could not be happier to keep on playing for the club he loves.

“I’m really happy to have my contract situation sorted out before the season starts and I’m really excited about the year ahead, as well as the next three seasons,” Reynolds said.

“It’s great to know that Luke has also extended his contract and I’m looking forward to continuing to build on the combination we’ve developed over the past two years.

“I love running out in front of our Members and fans each week and to know I’ll be doing that for the next three years is fantastic.”

Equally excited is his expected halves partner Luke Keary, who also loves the club.

“I love playing here at Souths, with the boys we’ve got in the squad, so it was a fairly straight forward decision for me in the end,” Keary said.

“We have a great group here, we’re focused on our job and know that if we work hard we can achieve great things.

“I’m glad the contract situation is sorted out before the season starts and I can’t wait to get back into the footy and representing the Rabbitohs.”

Luke Keary

Broncos prop commits to club despite persistent speculation

Josh McGuire

Keen to test himself on the open market, the rumours began and continued for some time regarding the future of Brisbane Broncos prop, Josh McGuire.

Making one of the front-row spots his own in 2014 and with international kudos to boot, he is a fan favourite at the club and Broncos fans will be pleased to know that he has re-signed for the next two years.

For McGuire himself, it is an exciting move and one that he feels comfortable with knowing that his Broncos future is secure.

“Mate, I’m very excited. I’ve got my future sewn up for the next couple of years,” said McGuire.

“It’s very exciting to stay here at the club that I love and I’m very excited about the future.”

2014 was a good year for McGuire and with that in mind, he knows that he has to maintain the consistency come the 2015 season.

“Hopefully there’s good things to come and I can concentrate on the season,” said McGuire.

“I feel like this is home and I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

Time under supercoach Wayne Bennett has gone well so far and McGuire looks forward to what lies ahead.

“It’s been a different experience but you can see straight away why he is who he is,” said McGuire.

“The boys are responding well, it’s been very intense but training has been very good.”

Burgess trio at Souths no more as Luke heads to Manly

Luke Burgess

To date, the Burgess brothers have only been associated with the South Sydney Rabbitohs but not anymore. That is because Luke Burgess will join the Manly Sea Eagles for the 2015 and 2016 NRL seasons.

With 135 NRL and Super League games to his name for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, London Harlequins & the Leeds Rhinos, the move allows Burgess to explore new options and look for a chance at more footy.

Burgess has tasted premiership success on two occasions – once in 2009 with the Leeds Rhinos and last year with the South Sydney Rabbitohs – and looks forward to his new opportunity at Manly.

“I’ve had a wonderful time at the South Sydney Rabbitohs and I’d like to thank them for the wonderful memories over the years,” Burgess said.

“I really appreciate them granting me this release. I’m really looking forward to the next few seasons at the Sea Eagles and can’t wait to get stuck in with the boys tomorrow,” Burgess added.

With the club’s need for further prop depth given the release of several forwards, signing Burgess gives them that with coach Geoff Toovey pleased to have the Englishman on board.

“Luke is really coming into his prime as a front-rower and we’re pleased to have added more experience, power and depth to our forward pack with his late addition to the squad,” said Toovey.

“He’s an experienced footballer and comes with a winning mentality, so I’m sure he’ll fit right in to what we have got going here at the Club already.”

Also pleased to have the Englishman on board was new CEO Joe Kelly, who praised the club’s ability to get a quality forward so close to the start of the season.

“Luke signing with the Club is a fantastic result and I’d like to thank the South Sydney Rabbitohs for their willingness to grant him a release and join us here on the Northern Beaches,” said Kelly.

Roosters back-rower signs new long-term deal

Aidan Guerra

In an early Christmas present for Sydney Roosters fans, the club have announced that fan-favourite Aidan Guerra has re-signed with the club for a further three years.

The new deal will see the back-rower remain with the Tricolours for a further three seasons, in a move that Roosters fans will be cheering about given the departure of some forwards this off-season.

After making his debut for the club in 2010 and with 87 first-grade games to his name – all for the Roosters – re-signing with the club was the only option for Guerra.

“Playing for a club like the Roosters is an honour I don’t take lightly,” said Guerra.

“This a great club and I’m really happy that I’ll continue to represent the Roosters and be a part of this team over the next three years.”

2014 was perhaps Guerra’s best ever season, as he represented both QLD in the State of Origin and the Kangaroos in the Four Nations tournament.

For the club, knowing that they are able to keep a player on the rise and performing so well, is a great boost for them.

“Aidan made his NRL debut at the Roosters and has matured into a player chosen to represent his state and country,” said Roosters Recruitment Manager, Peter O’Sullivan.

“Aidan’s coming of age during this year’s Origin Series was a just reward for his dedication and hard work. He certainly brought that experience back to his club football, and we were proud to see him complete the year by making his Australian debut in the Four Nations.

“Committed, strong and talented, Aidan plays an important role within the team and it’s great to have secured his services until the end of 2017.”

Storm utility back heads North to Townsville

Justin O'Neill

Originally a junior with Brothers in Townsville, Justin O’Neill will return to the city where it all began after signing a 2-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys.

Playing most of his career at the Melbourne Storm so far, the premiership-winning utility back will provide the Cowboys back-line with a much needed boost.

It was back in 2010 when O’Neill made his debut for the Storm, playing in 67 NRL games during that time and scoring 34 tries.

O’Neill will have some players he knows at the club already, having played with Matthew Wright and Cameron King in the 2010 Junior Kangaroos squad.

For the club, they are excited to bring one of their own back and look forward to his impact in 2015 and beyond.

“It’s really pleasing for us to be able to bring Justin back to North Queensland to continue his NRL career,” Cowboys general manager – football Peter Parr said.

“He’s only a young man but he’s had plenty of first grade experience and should have the best years of his career still to come.

“I’m sure our members and fans are going to enjoy having him as part of our club.”

O’Neill, who came up through the Storm U20’s ranks, will be missed by the club and they wish him farewell.

“On behalf of everyone at Storm, I’d like to thank Justin for his contribution to the Club,” said Storm CEO, Mark Evans.

“Justin was an Under-20’s graduate who went on to become a Premiership-winning winger in 2012 and he will always be welcome at Storm.

“We wish him and his partner well for the future.”

Bulldogs veteran off to England after signing with Featherstone

Reni Maitua

For the Featherstone Rovers fans, they must be stoked with their player signings to date and it has only gotten better, with NRL veteran Reni Maitua signing with the club.

Maitua, who has vast NRL and representative experience has played in 174 NRL games for the Canterbury Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels, as well as international caps for New Zealand and Samoa.

Although he has had his fair share of issues in the past, his experience will be invaluable for the Rovers side, with the 2-year deal subject to a visa clearance.

The previous issues were well documented and at one point, Maitua was suspended from the game for the use of a banned substance but he has since bounced back and performed well for numerous clubs since then.

Knowing how experienced he is, the club cannot wait to get him on board and on the field.

“This is a massive signing for Featherstone Rovers and a statement of intent by the club. His playing record speaks for itself and he brings a wealth of experience to our dressing room,” said Featherstone Rovers coach, Andy Hay.

“He is a uncompromising leader both on and off the field and will be big asset. We’ve done our homework and talked to people who have been working with him recently and he was highly rated.”

Having already made contact with Maitua, Hay looks forward to seeing the veteran get stuck in at the club. Additionally, with Maitua knowing about the club after discussions with Hay, they know he will help to promote the club.

“I’ve spoken to Reni and he is really eager to join Featherstone Rovers and help us achieve our ambitions of bringing top flight rugby league to the town,” said Hay.

“He has made it clear that he does not see this as a holiday but he wants to prove himself in the UK with Featherstone Rovers. He is excited about the new structures in place in our competition and wants to play Super League with Rovers.

He will not only be an asset on the field but he will be helping to promote the club and lift the profile of Featherstone Rovers.”

Tigers utility back heads to England subject to visa

Jy Hitchcox

He got a chance to play in first-grade for the Wests Tigers late on and he will have a chance to push for first-grade on the other side of the world, with Jy Hitchcox signing with English Championship side, the Featherstone Rovers.

At 25, the versatile utility back is adept at fullback, centre and wing and with previous stints at the Gold Coast Titans and Melbourne Storm, he is well accustomed to the game of rugby league.

Playing in over 60 games in the NSW Cup and enjoying a stint in rugby union with the Manly Marlins, the former Australian U18 player will be welcomed graciously at the Rovers pending visa clearance.

“Jy is a player we have been watching who has a good pedigree and is player who can cover a number of positions,” said Rovers head coach, Andy Hay.

“He has played all over the field and he even filled in at hooker at one point last season for the Tigers at New South Wales Cup level so he’s a pretty tough player. I think he will add plenty of speed on the outside and he has good ball skills so he will be an asset to us.

“His capture creates further competition in our three-quarter line and I’m looking forward to him arriving at the club and fighting for a place in the team. It’s important that we have healthy competition throughout the squad next year and Jy certainly provides that.”

Eels extend partnership with feeder side Wentworthville

The two clubs have been in a partnership for some years now and it will continue, with the Parramatta Eels and Wentworthville Magpies to maintain their feeder club relationship.

The Wentworthville Magpies, currently playing in the NSW Cup, have been the feeder club of the Eels side since 2008, the inception of the NSW Cup.

The new deal will run for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, with the Eels themselves excited to continue the current partnership with the Magpies.

“This partnership is outstanding for us, there are many players who have come through this system and it¹s a big pathway for player development,” Eels Head of Football Operations Daniel Anderson said.

“Coaches have relied on it as a quality second tier competition to challenge juniors on the way up and to let younger players mix with the experienced players in NSW Cup.”

“The relationship between young and experienced players is great for both Wenty and the Eels, in addition to providing valuable experience for a number of staff.”

Dogs back-rower heads South to Melbourne

Dale Finucane

There are some Dogs fans that are against the move but it is now done and dusted, with utility forward Dale Finucane to join the Melbourne Storm from 2015.

The deal will see Finucane remain in the Victorian capital for three seasons and since he made his debut in mid-2012, the forward has played in 66 NRL games.

A country boy at heart from Bega, NSW, Finucane adds some punch to the Storm pack, especially after the departure of veteran Ryan Hoffman.

With several other forwards moving on as well or retiring, the club are pleased to have secured someone like Finucane within their ranks.

“After losing Bryan Norrie to retirement, we’ve been on the look-out for a player that can make an immediate impact in the middle,” said Storm coach, Craig Bellamy.

“Dale is an ideal replacement and the type of player we like at Storm. We actually spoke to him a few years ago about a potential move so I’m glad he’s finally made the decision to join us.”

For the man himself, it is a new challenge and one that he looks forward to.

“It was a difficult decision to leave the Bulldogs,” said Finucane.

“They’ve been a tremendous Club but I’m delighted I can continue my career with Melbourne Storm.

“It’s a new challenge for me and I’m looking forward to learning more from Craig and meeting my new teammates in the New Year.”

The Bulldogs would have liked to have retained him but know that Finucane was after more game time.

“Dale has been an important contributor to the Club over six years and whilst we are sad to see him leave, we are supportive of his desire to secure more game time,” Chief Executive Raelene Castle said.

“I know that the staff, fans and all of Dale’s team mates, will join me in wishing him all the best for the future.”

PNG Hunters duo earn train and trial contract with the Rabbitohs

Wartovo Puara & Thompson Teteh

After a solid first season in the Intrust Super Cup, PNG players are getting noticed and two players from the side have been offered train and trial contracts with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

After a personal tour of Kokoda, Bunnies head coach Michael Maguire felt such a connection with the PNG culture and people that he wanted the club to increase the club’s relationship with the Pacific nation.

As a result, Papua New Guinean duo Wartovo Puara and Thompson Teteh will join the Bunnies on a train-and-trial basis.

Puara, at 24, is a hooker and has played for the PNG Kumuls in the past. Teteh, 25, is a centre and was a part of the Kumuls World Cup train-on squad.

The club have seen both players before, with the duo playing for PNG in the Return to Redfern clash in 2013.

Maguire is looking forward to having the duo at the club for the 6-week period.

“Having done the Kokoda Track and having formed a connection with the people I met in PNG, I wanted to explore a further connection between the Rabbitohs and the Papua New Guineans,” Coach Maguire said.

“It really opened my eyes when I was over there about how much these people love their Rugby League and the lengths they will go to support their countrymen in their dreams of playing Rugby League at the top level.

“It’s a real community over there and we were accepted into their communities through our connection with Rugby League and that’s something I want this Club to build on.”

Maguire is also keen to see what the PNG duo are capable of, in the hope of rewarding them with an eventual NRL contract.

“Wartovo and Thompson will be joining us in January to train full time for six weeks and they will have an opportunity to learn from our players, train alongside them and push themselves forward for a place in our full time squad on an ongoing basis,” said Maguire.

“It’s exciting for them to have this opportunity and we’re excited to be able to provide them with this opportunity.

The opportunity for the Papua New Guinean duo means it is a chance for the club to build a successful relationship with PNG rugby league in the years to come.

“It’s a chance to establish a pathway for Papua New Guinean players to reach NRL level and that’s exciting for everyone.”