Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Cronulla Sharks craving to be the success story of 2011

In 2010, it was the Sydney Roosters who were transformed. In 2011, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan wants his Sharks team to emulate the Roosters stunning transformation.

Flanagan is certain that with the team at his disposal, they are more than capable of transforming themselves from a cellar-dweller team to a top team in the NRL.

After he was sworn in towards the end of the 2010 season following the departure of former Sharks coach Ricky Stuart, Flanagan had his first official pre-season training session with the team.

Flanagan says that the players are using the Roosters stunning transformation in 2010 as added impetus for them to achieve a similar feat in 2011.

“I wasn’t on the inside of what went on at the Roosters so it’s a bit hard to judge, but from the outside looking in we’ve taken a lot of hope from what the Roosters did that we can do similar this year,” he said. “Todd Carney is a classic example and I’ve spoken to Tim Smith about that as well.

“We’ve got to start believing and I think we can do it.”

The Sharks sought to rebuild their team over the past few years, and Flanagan believes that the club has now done that, and that the rebuilding phase has come to an end.

“I’ve told the players and I’m quite happy to say now we’ve got to make the eight next year,” he said.

“We’re not going to beat around the bush and that’s our goal.

“If we get anything better it’s great.”

Akuila Uate set to go all guns blazing

You thought you saw a destructive Akuila Uate in 2010? You ain’t seen nothing yet. According to Knights coach Rick Stone, and Knights officials, Uate is only going to get better in 2011.

In an ominous warning for the rest of the NRL teams, Uate who is 100kg of pure ripped muscle, began training yesterday along with his Knights team-mates as they aim to bounce back from a somewhat topsy-turvy year.

In what was without a doubt Uate’s career best year, a year which saw him unlucky not to be selected for NSW and Australia, the Fijian speedster scored 21 tries and was named the Dally M Winger of the Year.

In a message that many opposition teams won’t want to hear, Mick Reid, Knights strength coach said that the potential exists for Uate to increase one key attribute – his speed.

“We think he can go even faster,” Reid said yesterday.

“It is something we’re working on with him. There is the potential there for some more improvement in his speed.

“A couple of times last season there were opportunities for him to probably pin his ears back and go for it and he didn’t.

“It’s something that we will be concentrating on.”

Whilst Uate has officially been given clearance to play for both NSW and Australia, Rick Stone believes that Uate shouldn’t and won’t get too ahead of himself.

“It’s going to be the big question, isn’t it – can Aku reproduce in 2011 the sort of form he produced last season?” Stone said.

“He’s certainly got some expectation to deal with now but if he can consistently perform to the same level next season, there are going to be some special times ahead for him.

“It’s early days. There is some scope there for him to drop a little bit of weight.

“He’s around 100kg at the moment but you are probably looking at him playing at about 97kg. We’ll keep him pretty grounded and make sure he keeps doing everything right.

“He’s certainly got the potential to be a potent force for us again, that’s for sure.”

Campese leads the way to retain Monaghan

Injured Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese is the catalyst behind a campaign to keep Joel Monaghan in the NRL, as they preach to the Raiders board not to discard the centre after a lewd act with an animal during Mad Monday celebrations.

After Monaghan announced he was quitting the rugby league, rumours abound that he was set to move to the ESL, thus meaning that the club didn’t have to terminate Monaghan’s contract.

Upon hearing of such news, several Raiders players discussed the matter with each other and vowed to do all they can to retain Monaghan as they aren’t in favour of letting a player they describe as inspirational.

Campese, a close friend of Monaghan, is set to appeal to the board along with co-captain Alan Tounge as they seek to keep Monaghan at the club.

‘I’ve spoken to most of the group today … they want him to know that everyone is behind him and wants to support him,” Campese said.

”We want to talk to the board and find a solution to keep him here. He’s been such an inspiration for a lot of the players in the squad. I’d hate to see him quit or leave our group. We want to do anything we can.”

Whilst Campese remains adamant that the club has to take some sort of action against Monaghan for the lewd incident, he refuses to believe that it should be the end of his career.

Canberra Milk, one of the Raiders major sponsors firmly believes that Monaghan should be shown the door and forced to leave the club, as the NRL is unlikely to not act should the Raiders penalty not be sufficient enough.

Those at the NRL were satifised with Monaghan’s decision to quit the NRL and pursue a career in England for the time being, though it is expected that they will de-register him for next year if the Raiders penalty is not sufficient.

”We want to let them know the kind of bloke Joel is and remind them of all the things he’s done for us as a club, the charity work, the little things like that,” Campese said.

”Many of our young kids wouldn’t be in the position they are today without him.

”I know he was the one that made me feel welcome when I got here seven years ago.

”He’s one of the nicest guys to play the game, someone who would do whatever it takes to help someone out.”

Campese also said that the photo was taking it’s toll on the Raiders club and on Monaghan himself.

”I spoke to him [on Saturday], and it’s definitely taken some of the energy out of him,” he said. ”He wasn’t the same person. That’s the sad thing – to see him like that, it definitely hurts me.”

Monaghan quits the NRL but vows to be back

In order to put the Canberra Raiders through potentially more embarrassment, disgraced Raiders centre Joel Monaghan has quit the club as a result of his Mad Monday actions.

The decision for Monaghan to quit is expected to be announced tomorrow by the man himself to the Raiders board, bringing an end to his tenure at the Raiders as he looks to start afresh in the ESL.

The NRL were horrified at the events that occurred at the Mad Monday celebrations, and are planning to de-register Monaghan for a year, thus preventing him from playing in Australia during that time.

The 27-year old shocked the entire NRL world with the photos, but he says that he was undergoing counselling for previous alcohol problems, but he vows to be back.

“It will be the saddest day of my life when I leave,” says Monaghan.

“If I try to stay here, there is too big a chance of my club being damaged as a result of the outcry over my stupid prank.”

“The Raiders board don’t deserve to be put under any more pressure, and neither to our sponsors or players.

“I caused this, I have to fix it – and that means I have to leave. I am a Canberra boy and it was always my dream to play for the Green Machine … and it really hurts that I have caused so much trouble.”

Jim Banaghan, Monaghan’s manager has been in talks with several ESL clubs and his confident of getting his client a deal to play in the ESL.

“As gross and foolish as it was, nothing actually happened with the animal,” Banaghan said.

“It was just a set-up gag and a really dumb prank between a group of young men who should have known better.”

For Monaghan, he felt that quitting the club despite having a 2 year contract remaining worth $250,000 was the right thing to do for both his sake and the club’s sake.

“I have to put the club first, and the only way is if I walk away and hope that people will recognise that while I did an idiotic thing , that I do have some decency and I really do care about our game,” he said.

“Eventually I would love to return, but I have to let some time pass before I even think about it.”

The former Kangaroos and NSW Origin centre said he is not angry with the unidentified Canberra team-mate who took the infamous photo and then circulated it on email and text message.

“We are all good mates,” he said. “It makes me cry to think that I have let them down, as I will not be here next year to help them.

“We have a young team and my experience was really needed to help Furnsey [coach David Furner] and the senior leadership group with our squad.

“I don’t know how it will be when I have to leave Canberra, but it will be the saddest day of my life.

“One single, stupid moment on one day has caused all this pain to so many people.

“I actually gave up the drink a short time ago and I have been attending counselling before this all blew up.

“I hope to come back to Canberra after I play overseas, and I hope people will give me a fair go. I love Canberra and I love the Raiders and I love my family – and this is our home.”

Robert Lui unable to train as he awaits court case

Promising Wests Tigers halfback Robert Lui will be unable to train with the club when their pre-season training begins tomorrow, as a result of his pending court case.

Lui, who was charged with a staggering nine offences, including two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, three of common assault, one of malicious damage, one of choking with intent to commit an indictable offence, one of detaining for advantage, and one of aggravated robbery, all on his pregnant partner Taleah.

The 20 year old will face court tomorrow week, and he plans to fight the charges vigorously in an attempt to clear his name.

As a result of his pending court case, Lui will have to train by himself in his own time, as the club wants no distractions in pre-season camp.

“Robbie won’t be back at training on Monday,” Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys confirmed.

“We’ve stood Robbie down from official duties and all club-related duties so he can concentrate on his court appearance.

“I know Robbie has been looking after himself and training pretty hard on a personal level to keep himself fit, but he won’t be part of our training next week.”

Making his debut in 2009, the QLD born halfback has played in 20 games over the course of his career, and was one of the unheralded catalysts in the Tigers charge during the finals series.

Lui’s long-term future is up in the air however, as the Tigers wait for the court case to be complete, before making any decisions on his future.

“We’ll review the situation after the court matter on the 15th,” Humphreys said.

“That will be the first opportunity from when he was charged to understand in any kind of detail the evidence against him.

“I’ve spoken to Robbie and we’re trying to support him as best we can, as well as his partner Taleah.”

Broncos sensationally withdraw offer for Greg Inglis

As the saga rolls on with no end in sight, the Brisbane Broncos have made the astonishing decision to withdraw their offer for Melbourne centre Greg Inglis.

Inglis was given a deadline in which he had to sign  a 2 year, $1.2 million contract by Friday with Brisbane, but not surprisingly, in light of the recent legal fiasco, that didn’t materialise, and thus the Broncos withdrew their offer.

The Broncos were patient throughout the whole affair, waiting a remarkable 14 weeks for Inglis to make the decision as to where he would play in season 2011, but the offer was withdrawn this afternoon.

The initial plan of attack from Brisbane was to sign Inglis to the club as a replacement for AFL-bound Israel Folau, but this matter was only made more complicated in light of legal clashes between Inglis and the Storm.

In spite of all this however, Inglis could have still decided to sign with Brisbane, which could have been officially registered, once Inglis’s legal complications were sorted.

Ultimately, the Broncos walked away from the deal as they thought it was the right thing for them to do.

“We have worked long and hard on these negotiations, as have the other parties,” Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen said.

“But with training already underway and no sign of the matter being resolved in a manner that would benefit the Broncos and its playing roster, it is time for the club to move on.

“We think it is an honour to represent our club and thus felt compelled to place a deadline of this afternoon for Greg to sign the contract he and his manager had agreed to.

“He was unable to commit to the club so we felt we had to make this call.”

The Storm will re-assess their cap situation as they look to fit Inglis into their side, but this seems unlikely, meaning that Inglis will officially become a free agent on Monday.

Despite their withdrawal, the Broncos state that they are more than pleased with their current squad, and chased Inglis given his standing in rugby league.

“When the possibility of Greg coming to the Broncos arose some months ago, the club always said it was entering negotiations only because of the stature of the player involved,” Cullen said.

“But we also said at the time that we were very happy and confident in the squad we had assembled.

“That statement still holds today.

“We know that this move will ensure the club is able to keep our current crop of talent together for many seasons to come.”

The news will shock some Brisbane fans, as they were planning on seeing him run out in their jersey for season 2011.

Jonathon Thurston escapes punishment for arrest

Jonathon Thurston may very well be counting his lucky stars after the North Queensland board decided that JT wouldn’t be punished for his disorderly behaviour in front of a club in September.

Thurston, who was already under a heap of pressure to retain the Cowboys captaincy after he was locked up on the 16th September in Brisbane, had his version of events approved by the North Queensland board, hence his acquittal on the whole situation.

As Thurston was recovering from a foot injury sustained towards the end of the Cowboys NRL season, Thurston was arrested and charged with being a public nuisance after he was asked to leave the Treasury Casino following a night of drinking.

In the official statement released by the Cowboys, Thurston advised the board that he was remorseful for his actions, as well as bringing the club into disrepute, but also that he had plans to pay a sum into the Cowboys Community Fund.

“The board has accepted Johnathan’s denial of the allegations which appeared in the media,” the club said in a statement.

“Both the club and Johnathan acknowledge that he did not follow protocol set by the club in regard to his injury rehabilitation.

“To the extent to which his actions have not reflected his positive work in the community, Johnathan has volunteered to make a meaningful contribution through the Cowboys Community Fund.

“The club and Johnathan consider the matter resolved and offer no further comment, other than that both are now looking positively towards the 2011 season.”

South Sydney launch audacious bid to snare Greg Inglis

Just when you thought the Greg Inglis saga couldn’t get any more complicated, with the help of Souths co-owner Russell Crowe and boxer Anthony Mundine, the Rabbitohs are planning to convince Inglis to move to Redfern.

It looked as if Inglis may have been headed to French Union in light of ongoing legal disputes with the Melbourne Storm over his legal fees from his court case, but both Crowe and Mundine have stepped in as they attempt to persuade the centre to make the move to Redfern.

As part of the projected deal offered by the Bunnies, it’s believed that Anthony Mundine would pay up to $100,000 of the pending legal fees Inglis is yet to pay, effectively preventing him from joining the Broncos.

The one downside to the above happening however, is that the NRL remains adamant that the money being counted as a part of the Bunnies salary cap for 2011.

The gesture would be alarmingly similar to the Sonny Bill Williams case in which Mundine paid Williams release fee from his own pocket to play Rugby Union in France in return for SBW participating in two boxing matches.

Crowe, who is currently overseas recording his new film has been hounding Souths Chief Executive Shane Richardson with a multitude of emails and phone calls as they try to get the deal finalised.

Generally, Richardson is always happy to discuss the goings-at Souths HQ, but in this case, he remains tight-lipped.

“I have no comment to make,” says Richardson.

“I always leave a bit of room to manoeuvre,” he says.

The downfall in the whole situation is that Souths according to sources are dangerously close to their current cap, so in order to alleviate going over, there are talks that captain Roy Asotasi who is on a rumoured $500,000 per season, will be one of the players to make way for Inglis.

Allan Gainey, Inglis’s manager is somewhat reluctant to comment on the whole issue.

“I suppose you could say it’s 50-50 at the moment,” Gainey said.

“He admires Anthony Mundine, he’s been speaking to him a lot, and Souths have seen a loophole because of the problems of getting a release from Storm.”

Any decision made by Inglis to move the Rabbitohs will come as a major shock to the Rugby League world after initially, Inglis had said he was moving to the Broncos in order to be closer to his fiancee Sally Robinson who has a job up in Brisbane.

When he first agreed to terms back in August with the Broncos, his agent Allan Gainey said:

“He wants to buy a house in Brisbane with his girlfriend and settle down properly for the first time in his life.”

“If his fiancee hadn’t moved to Brisbane, he’d still be with her and playing for Melbourne next year.”

In a heartbeat however, the landscape has changed dramatically for Inglis, the Storm and the Broncos.

As NRL boss David Gallop sought to actively resolve the situation yesterday between the Broncos and the Storm about the legal fees yet to be paid, Storm CEO Ron Gauci is more than happy to send Inglis to Souths.

“We released him on compassionate grounds to go to Brisbane but Souths is fine by us as long as the legal bill gets paid,” he said.

Raiders sponsors threaten $1 million walk-out

Following a lewd photo that appeared on the internet yesterday, it is believed that Raiders centre Joel Monaghan, the star involved in the scandal, will be sacked by the club on Monday.

It is believed that there are at least 4 major Raiders sponsors have all written letters to the club, all of whom have threatened have threatened to withdraw a total of $1 million worth of revenue as a result of the lewd photo.

This has only just come to light as NRL Chief Executive David Gallop continues to investigate and monitor the situation, with a decision expected from the NRL some time soon to de-register Monaghan from playing rugby league in Australia.

It’s also believed that Gallop wanted to de-register Monaghan as early as last night, after the lewd photo spread and went viral all over the internet.

The decision won’t go ahead though until the Raiders board makes a decision on the situation where it is likely that Monaghan’s contract will be torn up.

Adding to the pressure the board faces, several sponsors have verbally threatened to pull out of their sponsorships with the club in light of the recent scandal to hit the NRL.

Journeyman Chris Walker signs with Eels

First time head-coach Steve Kearney has made his first big-name signing as coach of the Parramatta Eels getting veteran Chris Walker on board.

Walker, who has played for 5 NRL clubs and one ESL outfit, agreed to join Parramatta for a season, as the Eels look to improve their back-line stocks following the departure of several reserve backs.

Walker, who will return to the NRL following a previous stint with Catalans in the ESL, is expected to begin training with the Eels today, as the Eels go through their paces on their New England Tour.

Walker is over the moon to be back in the league that has given him so many good memories.

”It’s the best comp in the world, and that’s what I want to be a part of,” Walker said.

”I don’t want to finish my career playing in the Super League. I want to finish it where I started it 12 years ago. And I don’t want to finish it any time soon.”

The inspiration for Walker’s return to the NRL came from fellow Queenslander Lote Tuqiri who made a successful transition from Rugby Union back to League at the start of this year, excelling in his first year back.

”You don’t lose your ability,” Walker said. ”I’ll back myself. It was good to watch a mate of mine [Tuqiri] run around, and he’s older than I am. I speak to him occasionally, and he was a bit of an inspiration.”

The return to Australia also had some personal significance for Walker, with the journeyman becoming a father to twins Chase and Narla 5 weeks ago.

Having three children under the age of 5, as well as having his family at least 24 hours away, Walker had to convince an NRL club that he would be worth the signing, and the Eels stepped up to the plate.

Walker, who knows Kearney well having been at the Melbourne Storm in 2006 when Kearney was the assistant coach of the club is eager to get into the Eels starting side.

”Hopefully next year I can force my way into the Parramatta side.”

Eels coach Stephen Kearney believes that Walker will indeed be a good buy, and that he will bring a wealth of experience to the Eels side.

“We looked at our list and we have a fairly extensive amount of injuries with Joel Reddy undergoing shoulder reconstruction and Eric Grothe playing very little football last season due to injury,” Kearney told AAP.

“We also lost Krisnan Inu, who is a class outside back, to the Warriors, and for what Chris cost us, we thought it was good value to get him on board and too good a chance to turn down.

“His experience will be good for us and our young players who are coming through and I know he is looking forward to the challenge and I am looking forward to working with him.”

“I am not concerned about Chris’ past. It is the future that interests me.

“He is a mature player now and has moved on in life and he will be a good addition to our squad and will play a big role for us next year.”