Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Key English hooker re-signs with the Raiders long-term

Josh Hodgson

In a huge boost for the Canberra Raiders premiership aspirations, Englishman Josh Hodgson has re-signed with the club on a new long-term deal. 

Already contracted for the 2018 season, the new deal begins in 2019 and will see Hodgson remain in the lime green until the end of the 2022 season.

Currently in the English camp preparing for his country’s semi-final clash with Tonga, Hodgson’s focus at present might be on the World Cup but his sights are firmly set on chasing premiership glory with the Raiders upon his return.

“There’s no way I’d sign long term if I didn’t believe this group of players were able to achieve great things, so a big part of the decision was staying at a club who I believe will have long-term success,” he said.

“We know our results last season were not acceptable and I know the group is already back in Canberra working hard to make sure things are better in 2018 and beyond that.”

Although the chance to play at a World Cup is an exciting one for Hodgson, he knows what the Raiders side is capable of and wants to get stuck back into pre-season training.

“I’m really enjoying the World Cup experience and hopefully we can continue through the tournament, but I’m also looking forward to getting home and working with the rest of the squad as we get ready for next season,” continued Hodgson.

With Canberra now Hodgson’s home away from home, he said that he and his family could not imagine moving anywhere else, and because of that, he made the decision to re-sign long-term.

“Canberra’s been a home away from home for us and I know my wife Kirby and I have really enjoyed our time here and want this to be our home for the next few years as we raise our family,” Hodgson said.

“The club was fantastic in helping us make the transition from England to Australia, and so far, we’ve been able to make some wonderful friends and settle into the community.

“The players were fantastic from the moment we arrived and the current group is a wonderful bunch of blokes who I believe have their best footy ahead of them.”

Knowing how crucial he is to the club both on and off the field, Raiders CEO Don Furner knows that his retention was so important for their ambitions.

“It’s the longest contract we’ve done for some time and it reflects our faith that we have in Josh of being a leader of this group and how committed to the Raiders he is,” Furner said.

“Josh moved to Canberra with his wife and then started a family here, so it’s also a great endorsement for our club and city to have him commit long term.”

Furner had nothing but praise for Hodgson’s on-field and off-field endeavours.

“From a football perspective Josh brings experience, leadership and professionalism to the team and he’s demonstrated over the past three seasons how valuable he is to our organisation,” continued Furner.

Titans snare talented rake from Penrith

Mitch Rein

Although he may not have played as much first-grade as many thought during his time at the Penrith Panthers; when he did, Mitch Rein looked in good nick.

The club will have to rely on other hookers for their depth, however, as Rein has now officially made the move to the Gold Coast Titans for the 2018 season.

Rein’s debut came back in Rd 1, 2011, at the St George Illawarra Dragons where he played in 132 NRL games before moving to Penrith and playing five games in first-grade in that time.

The talented Kiama junior is no stranger to new head coach Garth Brennan, having played under him for the Penrith Panthers at the NSW Cup level.

“I came here not knowing many of the guys but they’ve been very welcoming and I can’t wait to rip in for the rest of the pre-season,” Rein said.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and having the opportunity to link up with Garth again, is great.

“He is a champion guy and a great coach, once he gave me a call it was a pretty easy decision.”

Brennan himself is pleased that the club was able to sign Rein, a player that he knows well.

“Mitch is the ultimate competitor and someone that I enjoy coaching,” he said.

“He is a terrific trainer and his attitude across every aspect of the game can’t be faulted.”

Brennan praised Rein for his seamless transition into the side and his experience which will help the Titans side.

“He has made a smooth transition into the club and I know he is looking forward to working hard over the next few months of pre-season training,” continued Brennan.

“It’s great that we have been able to acquire an experienced player who has played over 130 NRL games and represented Country Origin.”

Former NRL utility back makes the move to Widnes

Krisnan Inu

With the need for experience and quality in a rugby league team so high, the Widnes Vikings have sought exactly that, with former NRL utility back Krisnan Inu joining the club.

The talented Inu has signed a 2-year deal at Widnes, joining the club from Perpignan-based Super League side, the Catalans Dragons.

With more than 200 games to his name across the NRL and SL, Inu has previously played for the Parramatta Eels, the Canterbury Bulldogs, the New Zealand Warriors and Catalans.

The Inu signing pleases Widnes coach Denis Betts who praised the veteran back’s experience at the NRL, SL and international level (Inu has represented both New Zealand and Samoa previously).

“We are delighted to secure the services of Krisnan Inu,” Betts said.

“Krisnan has exceptional playing abilities and understands the English game well.

“He will bring real quality to our edges and I am excited about the impact that he can make on the field.

“Importantly, Krisnan offers real experience too, as someone who has consistently proved himself in the NRL, Super League and internationally.

“I am looking forward to seeing him in action in 2018.”

Having played against the Vikings before, Inu knows what to expect of them and how they pride themselves on achieving their best and he is excited to get involved with the club.

“I’m very excited to be playing for Widnes Vikings in the Super League next season,” Inu said.

“I know from experience that Widnes Vikings are a tough team to play against and have great supporters, so I am pleased to be joining the team.

I‘m looking forward to starting training with the boys and meeting all the supporters very soon.”

Leigh go from strength-to-strength with the signing of Tigers back-rower

Kyle Lovett

The Wests Tigers fans gave Kyle Lovett plenty of flak often over numerous seasons but a new challenge now beckons for the back-rower after signing a two-year deal with English Championship side, the Leigh Centurions.

Lovett, who played in 50 games for the Wests Tigers, does have some upside being only 24 and a player that can add some defensive starch to the team.

Leigh has always prided themselves on signing elite players to strengthen their squad and with an already impressive roster, the signing of Lovett further adds to it.

Lovett was praised by Leigh owner Derek Beaumont as a player with NRL experience that can make a difference for the Leigh side.

“Kyle is another great addition to our squad who is young and energetic with plenty first grade NRL experience for his age,” said Beaumont.

“It is a further statement of our intent to build a side capable of returning to Super League and one that we can grow and develop to improve to greater things.

I am really looking forward to seeing his strong carries in a Leigh shirt.”

Lovett tasted premiership success with the Wests Tigers Holden Cup side in in 2013, with the Leichhardt junior drawing praise from Leigh head coach Neil Jukes.

“Kyle is a fast, direct, strong running forward who consistently in defence notches up 40 plus tackles a game,” Jukes said.

“His durability will also add a real competitive edge to our team in a number of other positions too.

“We will continue to monitor his preparations in Australia for the next few weeks now so he is ready to hit the ground running when he arrives at the beginning of December.”

Former Maroons and Kangaroos prop hangs up the boots

Nate Myles

After 14 seasons and 233 NRL games across five clubs (the Sydney Roosters, the Gold Coast Titans, the Manly Sea Eagles, the Melbourne Storm and the Canterbury Bulldogs), Nate Myles has decided to retire from the NRL. 

Myles, a decorated representative performer with 32 games for Queensland and nine tests for Australia, drew mostly praise upon the announcement from fans and his former clubs.

Most recently, Myles was with the Storm and the veteran received a glowing endorsement upon his retirement from club coach Craig Bellamy.

“To have played the number of club games he has and 32 Origin matches, in a dominant Queensland era at a consistently high level and for so long, certainly made him one of the best forwards in the game,” Bellamy said.

“If you asked any of his teammates the best thing about playing alongside Nate, I’m confident they would mention his toughness and consistent effort each week.”

Bellamy went on to praise the work that Myles had done with the club’s younger players to aid their development.

“Whilst he has been at Storm his professionalism, attitude and experience, as part of our forward pack, and especially with our younger players, has been first class,” continued Bellamy.

Penrith retain Edwards after promising debut season

Dylan Edwards

After a tremendous debut season that saw him nominated for the Rookie of the Year Award, Dylan Edwards has been re-signed by the Penrith Panthers until the end of the 2020 season.

Good form is not something foreign to Edwards; he was also a key player in the Penrith Panthers 2015 Holden Cup premiership success.

The Dorrigo junior is pleased to have his future sorted and hopes the Panthers can achieve good things in the coming seasons.

“It feels great – I’m really excited about my future here,” Edwards said.

“The boys are coming closer and closer every year… you come into work with a bunch of your mates every day.

“We’ve got a lot of talent (at Panthers) and hopefully it comes to fruition throughout the next couple of years and we get some really good results.”

He drew praise from Penrith Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould for his efforts on and off the field with the club.

“Dylan is the perfect example of how success smiles on hard work and persistence,” Gould said.

“I’m confident he has a great career ahead of him and we are extremely lucky to have such a quality young man at our club.”

T-Rex returns to the Eels after a decade

Tony Williams

He started his career with the Parramatta Eels as a winger when he made his debut in 2008 and Tony Williams has now come full circle, rejoining the club on a one-year deal.

After a brief initial stay with the Eels, the man is aptly known as ‘T-Rex’ went on to play 165 games at the Eels, the Manly Sea Eagles, the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Cronulla Sharks.

Inconsistent in the eyes of many, Williams might have to prove some critics wrong despite having some good years in his time away from the Eels.

Most notably was his time at Manly, particularly 2011, when he represented Australia for the first time on the back of a stellar breakout season.

Although his form became somewhat inconsistent after that period, there were always glimpses of what he was capable of during his time at the Canterbury Bulldogs under then-coach Des Hasler.

With his return to the Eels now official, coach Brad Arthur knows just how crucial Williams’ experience will be.

“Tony will be a great addition to our squad in 2018 and will bring a wealth of experience and depth to our forward pack this season,“ Arthur said.

“Not only will Tony be a welcome addition on the field, but he will also be a wealth of knowledge to our established squad.”

“We look forward to welcoming Tony back into the Blue & Gold, the Club where he made his NRL debut a decade ago.”

Williams joins fellow Eels recruits Kane Evans and Jaeman Salmon for the 2018 season.

Former NRL winger signs with Warrington

Mitch Brown

A new chapter awaits former NRL winger Mitch Brown, who has signed with Super League side Warrington on a 1-year deal.

Brown, who most recently played for the Leigh Centurions, scored 8 tries in his 26 appearances with the club.

The former Wests Tigers, Canterbury Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharks winger played 132 NRL games and scored 39 tries in that time.

Brown praised his new side’s recruitment drive and looks forward to the chance of working with Steve Price.

“Warrington’s a power club in the Super League and they have a great team for next year,” said Brown.

“They had a good base to start with, have recruited strong and with Pricey (Steve Price) coming over it’s a good opportunity.

“I like the way Pricey coaches, the way he structures things, and he’s a good person off the field as well. Hopefully, he’ll bring a good culture to Warrington too.”

Brown will have no feelings of being alone, having worked alongside Price before at the Sharks and also being friends with new Wolves signing, Bryson Goodwin.

“It’s always hard going to a new team, meeting new faces, but there will be a lot of boys in the same boat even the coach here,” continued Brown.

“I know Bryson pretty well and have been coached by Pricey before so that will help. There are the same personalities just different faces on every team, and everyone is always very welcoming.”

Wolves coach Steve Price was after players that he believes have genuine first-grade experience and in his eyes, Brown is a player that can help develop the club culture.

“The culture I want to create is about players who are team first and willing to work extremely hard, having been involved with Mitch at Cronulla he certainly ticks those boxes,” said Price.

“He’s an outstanding quality person and will add a lot to the club culture which we are building.

“He understands the systems which I am implementing here at the Wolves and he knows that there are positions up for grabs in the wing spots and no places are guaranteed as it will all come down to how each performs in pre-season and the friendlies.”

Barrett’s the man as Sea Eagles extend his tenure as coach

Trent Barrett

Deemed as the right man for the job by those that matter most, the Manly Sea Eagles fans, the club has today confirmed that Trent Barrett will remain in the role until the end of 2020.

The news of Barrett’s retention follows the further good news for Manly, who today announced Lyall Gorman as their new CEO.

The Manly board were pleased with the way the club has been run from a playing perspective in the last two years and that influenced their decision to retain him.

“Trent has developed a very positive performance-focused culture amongst the team and football operations staff,” said chairman Scott Penn.

“His contract extension reflects the high regard we have for his coaching ability, and the stability the extension provides the club.

“The club and Trent can now look forward to a positive future with a focus on ensuring a great 2018 season.”

As Manly continue to build their side, Barrett himself is pleased with the side the club has at their disposal and looks forward to guiding his crop of players to potential success.

“We have a very talented and liked minded playing group who I really enjoy coaching,” said Barrett.

“They enjoy playing with, and for each other, and we have all the ingredients for continued success at the Sea Eagles.”

“I really appreciate the support I’ve received from the players, coaches and support staff and also the Board, management, and our Members, fans, partners and the community. I’m now focused on preparing the team for the 2018 season.”

Former Sharks boss makes the move to become Manly’s new CEO

Lyall Gorman

In a boost for the Manly Sea Eagles off-field endeavours, the club has confirmed that Lyall Gorman will be their new Chief Executive Officer.

Gorman’s most recent role was as CEO of the Cronulla Sharks, one that saw him gain huge popularity among the Sharks faithful for his swift, efficient way of dealing with things.

Prior to that, Gorman was the founding CEO of A-League side the Western Sydney Wanderers and was also CEO of fellow A-League side, the Central Coast Mariners.

As Manly continue to grow and rebuild following some off-field turmoil, club Chairman Scott Penn is excited to have Gorman move into the role of CEO.

“Lyall has had a highly successful business management career and he brings strong leadership and a proven track record of success to the Club,” said Penn.

“In his most recent roles with the Sharks, Wanderers and Mariners, each Club all experienced on-field and off-field success,’’ Penn said.

“I’m sure Lyall will help the Sea Eagles grow to the next level commercially off the field, with his proven formula of connecting and engaging the Clubs he’s worked for with the community and improving Member and fan engagement and experience.”

Penn also thanked Neil Bare, the club’s Chief Operating Officer, for holding down the CEO fort in the interim as their search for a full-time CEO began.

“I also want to thank Neil Bare, Chief Operating Officer, for successfully leading the administration team over the past six months,” continued Penn.

With new horizons and opportunities ahead for Gorman in the new role, he looks forward to the challenges that will come with it.

“I’m delighted to be given the responsibility of leading the mighty Sea Eagles,” said Gorman.

“One of my initial priorities will be building stronger communication between our Club and its many stakeholders – including Members, fans, partners and the broader community, and of course Council and State and Federal Government.”