Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

NRL ask for more information about Inglis deal

Yet again, the Inglis saga takes another twist, with doubt being raised as to whether or not the deal will actually be approved by the NRL, after David Gallop and the NRL have asked for more information in relation to his third-party deals.

With that in mind, there is no severe doubt as to whether or not Inglis will be playing in the NRL next year, as the NRL seeks more information about the deal, which any regard as controversial.

“We have received the contract but requested more information in relation to the third-party deals,” Gallop said.

An NRL source said: “It will be a dogfight this deal. Those saying that it will get through might have spoken too soon.”

Gallop was unwilling to comment about some controversial and contentious comments made by Inglis’s manager Allan Gainey, as the plot thickens in this lingering saga.

“This kid could walk away from the whole game [if the NRL blocked the deal], it would be the greatest disgrace ever,” Gainey said.

“Greg is absolutely sick of it. Like everyone, he is fed up with the whole thing. The NRL has now received all the third-party and marquee player agreements.

“I put them to Souths for approval, they have approved them all and now it’s been sent to the NRL.”

Cowboys chasing hard for Anasta

With Jonathon Thurston has the only recognised in-form half at the Cowboys, the North Queensland side are believed to be pushing hard to get a deal through for Roosters lock Braith Anasta.

Peter Jourdain, who is the Chief Executive Officer at the Cowboys, confirmed yesterday that the Cowboys have in fact expressed their interest, and have formally written to the Roosters as they seek permission to talk to the Roosters star.

Greg Willett, Anasta’s manager is believed to be eager to discuss a possible move to the Cowboys for his client, but given that Anasta is still contracted to the Roosters for season 2011, he is unable to discuss a possible move unless the Roosters agree to discussions taking place.

As a result, a formal letter requesting permission to begin talks with the Roosters has been sent by Jourdain as they seek to add to their already strong recruitment drive.

“His manager has approached us,” Jourdain said.

“We’re not allowed to talk to him or make any offers because under the rules of the NRL you need written permission.

“I have made a written request to see if we can talk but until we get that permission we can’t do anything because he’s contracted.”

With the Cowboys firmly etched in attempting to get Anasta at their club, it’s bound to set up perhaps one of the most deadly halves combinations in the NRL with Anasta, a former NSW and Australia five-eighth with the current incumbent QLD and Australia halfback, Jonathon Thurston.

“He is someone we are interested in because of what he does on the field as well as off the field,” Jourdain said.

“But we don’t even know if the Roosters want to release him or not.

“Until we hear back, we can’t do anything.”

Further developments are unlikely to come early in the week, with club CEO’s attending the annual NRL conference from today.

Orford’s return to the NRL looking slim

It was the partnership that took them to the grand final in 2009, and it could very well be the partnership that leads them into the 2011 season, as the Eels officially terminate discussions with Matt Orford.

Jeff Robson and Daniel Mortimer were two of the unsung heroes of the Eels miracle run in 2009, which saw them make the grand final on the back of a large number of wins on the trot.

Now, after coming off a 2010 season most Eels players and fans will want to forget, it looks like it’ll be happening all over again, with Mortimer and Robson the favourites to start in the halves for the Parramatta Eels in 2011.

On the subject of Orford, the Eels have long been considered the favourites along with Canberra to sign the aging halfback, who is desperate to return to the NRL after just 1 year in the ESL with Bradford.

Parramatta however, have officially pulled themselves out of the race, and have terminated any discussions or contract talks with Orford, his manager and the Bradford Bulls.

The move by the Eels, now means that the Canberra Raiders are the only team committed to making a play for Orford, in light of their lack of experienced halves due to Terry Campese’s injury.

In a move that some may not have expected, it is believed that Matt Orford may also be considering a year off in 2011, in an attempt to play for the incoming franchise, the Central Coast Bears in 2012.

Such a move seems unlikely though, given Orford’s age, and the money that he would be demanding.

Eels coach Stephen Kearney has already spoken to both Mortimer and Robson, informing them that the halves positions are theirs if they want them.

Former Canterbury great and Mortimer’s father Peter, has said that it’s now up to his son to repay the faith shown by Kearney, and to make the most of the opportunity.

“Time will tell,” Peter said of his son’s ability to shine next season.

“I haven’t spoken to Stephen Kearney, but everyone I’ve spoken to speaks very highly of him.

“So if he’s made the decision to go with Daniel and Jeff, then they’re going to have to perform up to his expectations.

“The ball is in both the boys’ court now.

“I can see Daniel’s attitude just in the last four weeks has been a little bit more driven.”

Osborne set to meet with troubled centre Timana Tahu to discuss future

Despite being on a family holiday, Eels Chief Executive Paul Osborne will cut it short, as he attempts to find out what is troubling Tahu in a turbulent time in the players career.

The Eels boss was set to spend the weekend in Byron Bay with his family, but he decided against it to work out the problems affecting Tahu.

It’s believed that Osborne has said that Tahu has a “done deal” for the 2011 season, but that the club is willing to give the star centre as much time as he needs to get his head back in the game.

Since Monday, when Tahu first had the car crash that started the chain of events, thus resulting in the club giving Tahu the time off that he needs to fully recover.

“We’re supporting Timana Tahu 100 per cent,” Osborne said last night.

“It’s been a tough year for him off the field and our priority is for him to get himself right before coming back to training.

“We’ve done a deal with him for next year. It’s sorted. But, obviously, right at the moment he needs a little extra time away from footy and we’ve given him permission for that. At the end of the day, we’ll keep supporting him until he’s ready to come back and play.”

There is speculation that Tahu is set to leave the club, but that speculation has been dismissed by Osborne.

“No, I don’t. You have to remember the bloke has been through a real tough year. I know the stuff surrounding the Aboriginal knockout was tough on him. It’s affected him hard. Our only concern is getting his head right and getting him happy . . . we’ll provide whatever support is required to make that happen.”

The chain of events goes as far back as the NSW Origin series, after he had a spat with former Knights, NSW and Australia great Andrew Johns, resulting in Tahu omitting himself from the rest of the series.

Tahu’s career with Eels in doubt

With the ‘complex’ issues that Timana Tahu is facing, Eels coach Stephen Kearney is refusing to guarantee the star centre’s future as he he gets a week off to face his personal demons.

The coach was unable to determine a specific time-frame for the centre’s return, as constant speculation is mounting that both Tahu and the club may part ways.

Tahu made a request last week to obtain leave from training, a request which was granted by Kearney.

Despite rumours emerging yesterday that Tahu and go AWOL (Absent Without Leave), Eels CEO Paul Osborne quickly denied that, despite his Eels team-mates unaware of his location.

Tahu wasn’t present at Thursday’s training session, and he may not be at training for some time yet.

“We are working through a few things with him,” Kearney said.

“He’s contracted to the club but has a fair bit on his plate.

“We need to sit down and talk with him. We have to look after his welfare.

“We’re concerned and want to make sure he is in good health and looks after himself.

“We will do what we have to do. Hopefully we can resolve T’s issues. The issues are pretty complex.”

While there is a possibility that Tahu may return to training in the future, Kearney said: “We haven’t gone that far. I’m not going to comment on that.”

The issue started on Monday after Tahu’s car broke down on Monday, in which he hasn’t been seen at the club since.

Eels veteran Nathan Hindmarsh acknowledges that Tahu does have some issues he needs to overcome, but he expects to see him come back better than ever.

“He was back last week (at training) but some things have come up. He’s got to sort those out before he gets back to training again.

“We’re hopeful he will be back. We haven’t heard any different. He has missed a few days this week to sort some stuff out but he trained hard last week.

“It’s hard to get hold of Timana at the best of times but we haven’t spoken.”

Asked what Kearney’s message was for next season, Hindmarsh said:

“If you want to be here, fine, but if you want to hang around you can piss off now, pretty much.

“It’s about working hard for these eight weeks leading into Christmas. If you’re not up to it, you might as well go now.”

Tigers to take game against Dragons to the SCG

The Sydney Cricket Ground has been announced as the venue for the clash between the Wests Tigers and the St George Illawarra Dragons next season.

The Tigers who have traditionally been the journeymen of the NRL in that they use several different grounds over the course of the year, will continue that trend in 2011.

Leichhardt Stadium, Campbelltown Stadium, the Sydney Football Stadium, and the Sydney Cricket Ground are all set to host Wests Tigers home games.

The game, scheduled for Rd 22 of the NRL season will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Grand Final between Wests Magpies and St George.

Stephen Humphreys, Wests Tigers CEO believes that the club has managed to achieve perhaps the best split between the four venues that they could have come up with.

“It’s great to see Campbelltown and Leichhardt have four matches once again and there are some exciting clashes at those grounds, Humphreys said.

“I’m really looking forward to celebrating our historical rivalry against the Dragons at the SCG. This is such an important part of our history and it will be an exciting time for the club.”

Josh Dugan emerging as surprise candidate for 5/8 role

He’s known for his scintillating form from the back for the Canberra Raiders, but given Terry Campese’s long-term injury, the Raiders are tossing up whether or not to move Dugan to 5/8 in what would be a shock move.

In a move that is sure to shock Raiders fans and NRL fans alike, it was confirmed by Raiders coach David Furner, as Campese is not expected to return until May at the earliest.

“There is the option there that ‘Duges’ could step up into that role,” Furner said.

“The big thing for Josh is that he’s got a tremendous amount of natural ability, he’s very athletic – he’s gifted in that way – and he’s also got a good footy brain.”

Canberra have been exploring a multitude of options in the halves since Campese unfortunately ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the semi-final against the Wests Tigers during the 2010 finals series.

After both Brett Kimmorley and Trent Barrett announced their retirement from the NRL, Matt Orford emerged as the primary candidate for the Raiders to pursue given their current lack of an experienced half.

It’s a well-known fact that after just 1 year in the ESL at Bradford, Orford is home-sick and is doing what he can to get a release from the Bradford club in order to move back to the NRL.

If Orford doesn’t end up signing with the Raiders, then it will be up to inexperienced halves Josh McCrone and Queensland Cup five-eighth Michael Picker, who spent the year playing with Souths Logan.

Furner admitted that Dugan was another choice for the five-eighth position, but he did concede that the plan was to play Dugan there anyway during pre-season in an attempt to make him a better fullback.

“He will train in that position purely to help with his education of being in those positions on the field,” Furner said.

Dugan’s move from fullback to five-eighth wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen it, with Brisbane Broncos captain and five-eighth Darren Lockyer making a successful transition from the back to the halves.

“If I don’t need to I don’t want to drag ‘Duges’ out of position because I think he’s going to be one of the main fullbacks for this upcoming season,” Furner said.

Warriors to play 2011 opener at Eden Park

In what is a fantastic move for the development of the NRL in New Zealand, the Warriors have made the decision to play their opening game in 2011 against the Parramatta Eels at Eden Park in Auckland.

Eden Park, which is the biggest stadium in NZ will play host to several games for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said that playing at the venue is a fantastic achievement for both the NRL and the Warriors team.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have the chance to take our NRL and NYC (National Youth Competition) sides to a big stadium like Eden Park with a capacity for a crowd of 50,000,” Scurrah said.

“With all the work that has gone into it for Rugby World Cup 2011, Eden Park is now clearly New Zealand’s premier venue.

“We’ve been working hard with all parties concerned to confirm what will be a huge day for the Warriors.”

The game at Eden Park will be the first time in 15 years have played a home game away from their traditional base, Mt Smart Stadium, which is set to host their other 11 home games of the season.

“We remain very committed to retaining Mt Smart Stadium as our home venue but see the Eden Park season-opener as a fantastic way to give our members a unique and historic experience, and to also attract new fans to Warriors matches,” Scurrah said.

Greg Inglis’s move blocked by the NRL

Just when you thought all was settled with the Inglis saga, a new twist rears its ugly head. In a move that is sure to please Broncos fans, but anger Souths fans, the NRL has blocked Greg Inglis’s move to the Bunnies.

After walking out on the Brisbane Broncos earlier this month to sign with the Bunnies courtesy of a big push by co-owner Russell Crowe, it seems like the reason why the contract has been blocked could in fact be as a result of Crowe.

The likelihood of Inglis playing for Souths is now very slim, with Schubert having no choice but to prevent the transfer from going through, given that Inglis is technically still contracted to the Melbourne Storm.

Crowe, who was recently on Jay Leno’s talk show talking about Souths, and their proud history, is believed to have inadvertently made the NRL, particularly salary cap auditor Ian Schubert at the situation more closely, thus the action they have taken.

On Leno’s show, Crowe said that the deal was worth $1.8 million over three years, despite claims being made that Inglis was on a base salary of just $190,000, an amount which many found hard to believe, and only makes the situation even more suss.

In light of this new revelation, the likelihood that Inglis will be headed overseas to play football, most likely in France is gaining momentum, with Inglis’s manager Allan Gainey set to look into French Union as a possible destination for his player.

“It must be frustrating for him [Inglis] but he has got an agent and frankly, that’s what agents are for,” NRL boss David Gallop said last night.

“I hope for Greg’s sake it gets sorted out pretty quickly because we certainly want to see him be able to settle down and concentrate on his footy.”

In order to retain Inglis, the Bunnies would have to release some players, with several names already being touted as departing the club and moving elsewhere, though Souths seem reluctant to release any players.

“It’s frustrating Souths paraded him in their colours when it’s not resolved,” Gallop said.

“It’s true that Greg’s contract position is not resolved.

“Everyone involved has known for some time he is under contract with Melbourne Storm and needs both a release from that contract and the approval of the salary cap auditor.”

Inglis is also set to undergo hip surgery, after having reconstructive surgery on both of his shoulders. He faces some time away from any training as he recovers.

It also appears that Inglis has  been packing on the kilos, with his last known weight to be a whopping 118kg.

Titans player banned for two years by doping tribunal

In what proves that the NRL is cracking down on the illicit use of drugs in their game, young Titans player Ryan Foggo has been banned from the game for 2 years.

Foggo, who is an under 20’s player for the Titans tested positive to for the stimulant dimethylpentylamine (methylhexanemine).

It was on September 10 at an ASADA test that Foggo was caught out, and he has subsequently been banned provisionally since the 10th of October this year.

The matter was heard on the 15th November by Sir Laurence Street, Dr Geoff Steinweg and Mr Sean Garlick, all of whom are a part of the Anti-Doping Tribunal.

David Gallop, the NRL’s Chief Executive has sent out a stern warning and advised all athletes to be careful when taking supplements and vitamins in training and for medicinal purposes.

“Every NRL Club has an Anti-Doping Officer and a Doctor and it is vital that players properly consult to ensure that they know exactly what they may be taking” Gallop said.

“The cost of making a mistake in this area is a high one for any athlete but the need to retain strong drug policies and strong testing regimes is also fundamental to every sport.”