Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Bulldogs confirm re-signing of goal-kicking back-rower Martin

Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Rhyse Martin

Since getting the chance to play, Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Rhyse Martin has made the most of his opportunity. 

Performing well on the edge, Martin has so far scored four tries in eight games and has a 93.8% goal-kicking percentage.

With the club forced to sign younger players or lesser known players due to cap issues, re-signing Martin is a step in the right direction.

Club CEO Andrew Hill was pleased that the back-rower had put pen to paper on a new 1-year deal.

“Rhyse has been part of a new group of younger players that have made their NRL debuts this season and who will form the nucleus of our squad going forward,” Hill said.

“His re-signing is another positive step in creating a balanced squad that can complement each other next season and take our club in the right direction.

We are delighted to have him back on board.”

New Titans contract for Lee

Gold Coast Titans centre Brenko Lee

Brenko Lee will stay on the Gold Coast for at least one more season, re-signing with the Titans side for the 2019 season.

Since his club debut, Brenko has played in nine games so far this season for the club and has played 33 games overall.

Lee previously had stints with both the Canberra Raiders and Canterbury Bulldogs.

Making the centre spot his own after a return from a knee injury, retaining the Logan Brothers junior was key for the club.

“Brenko had a rough start to the year with a knee injury but once given the opportunity he has been a consistent performer,” Titans head coach Garth Brennan said.

“He’s a family man who enjoys being surrounded by loved ones and it’s great he can do that whilst playing here at the Titans.

“I expect a big pre-season from Brenko to be ready for 2019. He’s only young and he has a bright future.”

Edwards, former NRL player, signs deal with York City Knights

Former NRL player Joel Edwards

Somewhat sneaking away quietly, many may not know that Joel Edwards has signed with the York City Knights.

The English club, who are on the rise in their respective English championship, view the signing as a huge coup.

“I’m delighted to bring Joel to York, pending RFL paperwork,” said James Ford, York head coach.

“He’s an incredibly talented footballer and someone who improves our squad at an important time in our season.”

Edwards, a former Newcastle Knights, Canberra Raiders and Wests Tigers forward, last played NRL in 2017.

After that, a move to French rugby league side the Limoux Grizzlies eventuated before this move to York.

Ford is looking forward to Edwards joining and getting stuck in at the club.

“I’d like to thank Jon [Flatman, Knights Chairman] for all his hard work in getting this deal over the line, as well as the fantastic fans and sponsors of the club who’ve made this happen,” the head coach continued.

“I’m looking forward to Joel linking up with the rest of the squad and making a positive contribution as soon as possible.”

Broncos top four hopes re-energised after dismantling Penrith

Brisbane Broncos forward Tevita Pangai Jr.

The Penrith Panthers were on the receiving end of a hiding last night, losing 50-18 to the Brisbane Broncos, their fourth loss in five games.

Led by Tevita Pangai Jr. who will have left the Panthers players with nightmares post-game and Anthony Milford, it was a clinical Broncos performance.

At half-time, the score was 32-0 and in today’s game, that is virtually an unassailable lead.

After a poor performance last week at the same venue against the Warriors, the Broncos looked a different side.

It all started in just the fourth minute. Sam Thaiday wound back the clock after combining with Milford and finding Pangai Jr. to score.

A two-try kick then led to the Broncos second try; first a chip by Milford before Kodi Nikorima soccered it off the ground.

James Roberts won that race and scored for the Broncos.

There was just no stopping Pangai Jr. for his second try. He dodged, ducked, dipped, dived and dodged his way over to score.

The Broncos confidence surged following that swashbuckling individual effort from Pangai Jr.

Two further tries than followed; Corey Oates and Darius Boyd both getting on the scoresheet.

The Broncos would miss Pangai Jr. in the second half who was having his hamstring iced.

Penrith, refusing to lie down despite trailing heavily, tried to get back into the contest.

Waqa Blake scored first after a crossfield kick from Nathan Cleary before Josh Mansour scored on his return to give Penrith some hope.

That ended soon after as an errant James Maloney pass allowed Kodi Nikorima to streak away and score.

Tyrone Peachey tried to get Penrith back in yet again but Nikorima showed off his thieving skills to intercept again and score again.

The death knell was a final try to prop Matt Lodge, capping off an emphatic Broncos win.

Although his side won comfortably, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett is not getting carried away.

“We can’t afford to get around and tell ourselves we are sensational,” Bennett said.

“We’ve won nine out of 12 games but we just need to nail games we should be nailing.

Hopefully, in a month’s time we can be more consistent than we have been, particularly last week which was pretty disappointing.”

After four losses in five games, Penrith are in somewhat of a slump.

But don’t let James Maloney hear you say that, though.

“I’m probably not as concerned about it as you guys seem to be,” he said.

“We’ve got six weeks to go in the season and we need to be playing our best footy in six weeks, and we’ll be doing that and start building towards it.

“I’d probably be more concerned if we were humming and doing everything right because I’d have doubts if we could hold it for another 10 weeks.

Player of the Game:

3. Tevita Pangai Jr.

2. Kodi Nikorima

  1. Anthony Milford

Raiders charge halted by controversial call as Sharks hold on to win

Cronulla Sharks prop Andrew Fifita

Controversy is never out of the picture in the NRL and the Canberra Raiders were on the receiving end in their loss to the Cronulla Sharks.

The Sharks eventually held on to win 28-24 despite a Raiders late fightback on two occasions.

It was the non-decision made on a Sharks try in the second half, however, that had Raiders fans up in arms.

Touch judge Ricky McFarlane raised his flag to indicate that the attacking team had made an error.

With Raiders plays paused and arms in the air, the play continued and Sione Katoa went over to score for the Sharks.

As the play went upstairs to the bunker, they decided there was no touch by Sharks centre Jesse Ramien.

And so, the try remained and it halted the Raiders momentum at that time.

Things started rather poorly for Raiders. An early dropped ball before Jordan Rapana was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Although the Sharks did not capitalise then, they did soon after. Andrew Fifita shrugged players off and powered over.

Some slick ball movement saw Ricky Leutele get his name on the scoresheet and the Sharks went up 12-0.

Rapana made up for his sin-binning, though; bursting through the line and linking up with Joseph Leilua before Brad Abbey finished it off to score.

That potential Raiders charge was halted, however, as Valentine Holmes made two line-breaks – scoring off one.

That was then followed by a Wade Graham try to seemingly put the game to bed at half-time for the Sharks.

There is some concern over Graham playing next week due to a groin injury after he failed to return for the second half.

A Joey Leilua double then breathed fire into the Raiders attack.

First, he capitalised on a Blake Austin hit and spin to dive over, before combining with Josh Hodgson for a second.

That momentum ended when the controversial Katoa call was allowed, though the Raiders would score again.

Rapana getting a try of his own as the Raiders sought to win or level it up but it was not to be.

Although the controversial call did cost his side the game, Raiders captain Josh Hodgson did not blame that for their loss.

“I was on the inside and you saw the touchie put the flag up and then half put it down,” Hodgson said.

“As soon as you see a flag, you stop your feet. If you watch the video back, the ref [keeps going to blow the whistle],”

“We were all just waiting for the whistle.

“We all just stopped and he ran through and scored. He called no try, you’ve got to give proof it’s definitely not a try.”

There was no sympathy from Sharks coach Shane Flanagan who merely said that teams must play to the whistle.

“You’re always told as a young kid to play to the whistle and he [Katoa] did,” Flanagan said.

“You get a little bit of luck in some games and we might of got a bit of luck then, I’m not sure.

“It doesn’t surprise me – we see touchies not put their flags up or put their flags up just a couple of weeks ago.”

Player of the Game:

3. Andrew Fifita

2. Joey Leilua

  1. Jordan Rapana

Hipgrave signs new Titans deal

Gold Coast Titans forward Keegan Hipgrave

The Gold Coast Titans have retained the services of Keegan Hipgrave on a new 2-year deal. 

Hipgrave, a Nerang Roosters junior, joined the Titans side midway through 2017.

His debut came in the final round of last season and since then, he has played in 13 games in 2018.

There was no hiding the excitement shown by Titans coach Garth Brennan in retaining Hipgrave.

“I’ve said a number of times how much of a fan I am of Keegan,” Brennan said.

“He’s a tough player who loves everything about the game of rugby league.

“Everything he does is at a million miles an hour which I love.”

“He’s shown this season he has that versatility to play either in the middle or on an edge which definitely helps the balance of our squad moving forward.”

Eels record much-needed win over arch rivals the Bulldogs

Parramatta Eels forward Nathan Brown

Unfortunately billed as the wooden spoon cup for both sides, it was the Parramatta Eels who prevailed over the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

The 14-8 win was the Eels first in a month and will give them confidence, despite a for and against of -132.

It would be the Bulldogs who opened the scoring, with some quick hands resulting in a try to Kerrod Holland.

In the opening stages, the Eels struggled with first contact in defence and to contain the Bulldogs offloads.

The game took a turn in the Eels favour soon after when Brett Morris was sin-binned for a professional foul.

The Eels looked to capitalise but errors cost them to begin with.

Try as they might, they were finally rewarded when Corey Norman found Tepai Moeroa to bust through, who found Kaysa Pritchard to score.

As the Eels looked to extend their lead, they were yet again their own worst enemy.

Either it was an error or in the case of George Jennings, being tackled into touch that failed to see further points scored for some time.

It was then a lucky ricochet in the Eels favour that saw Mitch Moses coast 90m to score and give the Eels a 14-6 lead.

Only a further penalty goal to the Bulldogs troubled the scorers after that, as the Eels recorded a crucial win.

Despite criticism levelled at his young halves for their performance, Bulldogs coach Dean Pay intends to stick by the kids.

“We had a fair bit more ball than them, we just didn’t do enough with it,” Pay said.

“We had a couple of young blokes there playing in the halves who were going sideways, we’ve got to dig into the line and create some opportunities for ourselves.”

Eels coach Brad Arthur knew how important this win was for the club and their confidence.

“If we went with that much effort tonight and we couldn’t find a way to win that game, it would’ve been real tough moving forward,” Arthur said.

“But that gives us a bit of direction for the next six games.”

Player of the Game:

3. Nathan Brown

2. Tepai Moeroa

  1. Reed Mahoney

Broncos retain the talented Jamayne Isaako

Brisbane Broncos utility back Jamayne Isaako

Surprising many with his play for the Brisbane Broncos, Jamayne Isaako has signed a new long-term deal with the club.

The four-year deal comes after the utility back was previously linked to the Sydney Roosters.

“I’m excited to sign with the Broncos for another four years,” Isaako said.

“I came here at the end of 2015 and sort of hoped to make it here.

“I’m just grateful I was able to solidify a long-term contract here with the Broncos.”

Isaako initially came through the ranks at the Cronulla Sharks through both schoolboy footy and SG Ball.

In the end, the feeling of homesickness is what drew him back to Brisbane.

“I felt homesick in the time that I was in Sydney,” Isaako continued.

“At the time, I moved over at a young age and things just weren’t working out in Sydney.

“And I got an opportunity here [at the Broncos].”

Isaako admits that when meeting with Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, it was daunting but he soon warmed to his new coach.

“At first it was a wee bit intimidating, I’d heard a few stories,” the utility back continued.

“He [my manager] just told me to be open with Wayne and honest with what I wanted to do.

“In the meeting, Wayne did most of the talking and I was just listening.

“The meeting went well and it obviously finished with him wanting me to come to the club.”

 

Sydney Roosters sign English winger Ryan Hall

Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall

Just recently, the Leeds Rhinos confirmed his departure and today, the Sydney Roosters have confirmed the signing of Ryan Hall. 

Ryan Hall, a prodigious scorer and winger for both Leeds and England in recent years, has signed a 2-year deal at the Roosters.

On the back of 327 games for Leeds since his 2007 debut and 231 tries in that time, he comes with a scoring pedigree.

Having previously admitted to wanting to play NRL, the Roosters are happy to give Hall that opportunity.

“Ryan has expressed a desire to test himself in the NRL, and we are pleased to have secured his services,” Roosters Recruitment Manager Adam Hartigan said.

“A natural finisher blessed with size, speed and strength, we believe that Ryan will be a terrific fit within our squad and we look forward to welcoming him to the Club later this year.”

Sharks young gun Katoa signs new deal

Cronulla Sharks winger Sione Katoa

Bursting onto the scene at the start of the year and impressing many, Sione Katoa will remain at the Cronulla Sharks.

The new contract extension will see Katoa stay with the club until the end of the 2020 season.

The winger is pleased to have his future sorted and just wants to let footy do the talking.

“I’m enjoying playing in the Sharks NRL side with so many experienced players and I’m grateful for the opportunity I’m being given,” Katoa said.

“I just want to go out, do my job and not let the boys down. Hopefully that’s been happening and I can keep doing that.

“I’m excited about the rest of this year and looking forward to the next two seasons as well.”

Tongan in heritage, Katoa’s feats in the Holden Cup were impressive; 44 tries from 49 games for the Sharks.

In the end, it was his form, hard work and commitment that made him too good to pass up for a wing spot in round one.

“It’s important that we retain the talented young players we have at the club and we are very pleased to have Sione around for at least two more years,” Cronulla Sharks coach Flanagan said.

“He was a part of a very good NYC team last year, was the leading try-scorer in that competition and made the Holden Cup team of the year.

“While it’s only early days, he gives every indication that he will develop into a quality first grade player and enjoy a long and successful career.”