backflip saga – Michmutters

Wests Tigers transfer news; Isaiah Papali’i future, Parramatta Eels, Brisbane Broncos, transfer rumours, David Klemmer, Corey Oates, Ben Hunt, Liam Martin, Martin Taupau, Tyson Frizell, Victor Radley

The Wests Tigers have been urged to “move on” from new recruit Isaiah Papali’i and use his $1.9 million contract to make a splash in the transfer market.

The Eels enforcer Isaiah had agreed to a three-year deal with the Tigers, but the star recruit is considering a backflip which could leave the club in a tough spot.

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The 23-year-old revealed his concerns after the Tigers parted ways with premiership winning coach Michael Maguire, and has since been linked with a return to the Warriors.

Papalii inked the big-money deal last November, but told 9 News that his future is still far from certain.

“Obviously people ask me about it, just even on the street or family and friends are hitting me up but that’s kind of for my manager look after and even if I don’t stay here or I do go next year, I want to make sure that this year has no regrets,” Papalii said.

“I reckon somewhere in the off-season because this is distracting me at the moment.

“We have a massive opportunity and I don’t want to leave any stone unturned this year and look back on it and think ‘I shouldn’t have left that stuff get in the way’.”

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The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio and NRL360 co-host Paul Kent said the Tigers could not afford to wait until the end of the season for Papali’i to make a decision.

“They have a salary cap to manage, they can’t sit back and wait for this guy,” Kent said.

“That’s why they the Tigers should move on now, move on and use the money before it’s too late,” Riccio added.

“Don’t wait until November. If they do there will be no market for them,” Kent replied.

Should Tigers hear the message and cut ties with Papali’i, it leaves them with two clear options.

Spend the money now and bring in a player to bolster the side for next season or save it up and make a play for one of the big-name stars off-contract from 2023 who can begin negotiating with rivals from November 1.


Age: 32

Club: St George Dragons

Position: half-back

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

While the Dragons are reportedly leading the race for Hunt’s signature, the Tigers should do everything they can to ensure he’s wearing their colors in the future.

Hunt, who was leading the Dally M race before the count went behind closed doors, has begun negotiations with the Dragons over a two-year extension.

The Daily Telegraph have revealed that the playmaker’s management had met with the Dragons late last month.

Since then, however, the Dragons have hit turmoil.

James Hooper reported there had been a major blow-up at the Dragons following the treatment of hooker Andrew McCullough and the axing of assistant coaches Peter Gentle and Mat Head for next season.

Hunt is extremely close with McCullough, having played together at both the Dragons and Broncos as well as for Queensland. The development could provide an opening for rivals to make a move.

The Tigers, who would only be able to speak to Hunt since November 1, are in desperate need of a solution at halfback.

Jock Madden has been sporting the No. 7 jersey for the Tigers over the past couple of weeks, but with just 13 games of NRL experience to his name, the club could use a boost.

If Luke Brooks is allowed to leave it would free up plenty of money for the Tigers to make an all-in move.

Hunt is in high demand with a number of clubs interested in services, and he wouldn’t come cheap. But fresh off his Origin heroics, the Tigers should be willing to move mountains if that’s what it takes to lure the star half to the western suburbs.


Age: 27

Club: brisbane broncos

Position: wings

Current contract: expires at the end of the year

At just 27-years-old, there’s no reason why a club like the Tigers shouldn’t spend big money on a proven try scorer such as Corey Oates.

Oates, who has 188 NRL games to his name, equaled his record for most tries in a season with a double in Round 21 against the Roosters.

Corey Oats. Broncos V Storm. Picture: NRL ImagesSource: Supplied

Oates comes off contract at the end of this season with the Broncos, so he could become an immediate piece of the Tigers’ puzzle for next season.

He would also offer new coach Tim Sheens some versatility having experience playing in the back row.


Age: 28

Club: Newcastle Knights

Position: Prop

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

Klemmer was reportedly close to having his contract torn up with the Knights after being issues with a breach notice for an on-field issue.

The former New South Wales prop is on a big-money contract with the Knights, but came under fire after he verbally abused trainer Hayden Knowles during a 14-point loss to the Bulldogs.

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Parramatta were reportedly interested in signing the prop for the remainder of the 2022 season on loan before the incident.

While Klemmer has been among the Knights best players, the recent incident, and his hefty contract, could convince Newcastle to agree to release him early.


Age: 25

Club: Penrith Panthers

Position: second row

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

Another player who comes off contract at the end of next season, Martin would be an incredible signing for the Tigers who could approach him from November 1.

Martin has been a key part of the Panthers’ dominance over the last few seasons and has reaped the rewards after cementing his place in the Blues Origin fold.

Liam Martin is among a list of big names who can talk with rivals since November 1.Source: Getty Images

The Panthers still need to lock down fellow Origin stars Brian To’o and Stephen Crichton which could mean Martin is gettable.

He would be a more than handy replacement for Papali’i if the Tigers can convince him to make the switch.


Age: 32

Club: Manly Sea Eagles

Position: second row

Current contract: expires at the end of the year

Sea Eagles enforcer Taupau reportedly requested an immediate release to join the Eels before the August 1 deadline.

It appears as if he wants out of Brookvale, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, it’ll be interesting to see which colors he dons next season.

The former Kiwi international played for the Tigers for two seasons before moving to Manly for the 2016 season.

With plenty of power to throw around the field, Taupau can be an asset to any team when he’s in-form.


Age: 30

Club: Newcastle Knights

Position: second row

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

It wasn’t too long ago that Tyson Frizell was a regular for both the New South Wales Blues and Kangaroos teams.

Frizell made his name with the Dragons before securing a lucrative deal to sign with the Knights, where he’s played the last two seasons.

Tyson FrizellSource: Getty Images

While he still has one more year to run on that contract, Frizell could potentially be lured to the Tigers on a smaller deal than what he’s on now.

What’s more, his name has been mentioned as part of a potential swap deal for Luke Brooks.

While it was denied by Tim Sheens, there is clearly some movement around Frizell.


Age: 24

Club: sydney roosters

Position: Lock

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

Hypothetically speaking, Roosters lock Victor Radley has the potential to be an incredible signing for the Tigers.

The 24-year-old, who has sworn his international allegiance to England ahead of the World Cup, has premiership winning experience and 93 NRL games to his name.

What’s more, Phil Rothfield revealed on NRL360 that the Roosters are facing a cap crunch with seven players commanding more than half their salary cap.

It could open the door for the Tigers to swoop.



Isaiah Papali’i, Warriors, Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels, contract, future, Round 22

Eels star Isaiah Papali’i’s push for a backflip from his $1.9 million Tigers deal has taken a fresh twist with reports he is also angling for a return to the Warriors.

Papali’i raised concerns about his Tigers deal after they sacked Michael Maguire, while the Eels have upped their offer in a bid to retain his services, but a potential return to the Warriors is the latest development in his contract saga.

“Isaiah Papali’i signed a contract with Michael Maguire at the helm at the Tigers and now with Madge not there he is certainly not committing to it,” Braith Anasta said on NRL 360.

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“There is speculation about whether he will go or stay. I have not been convincing.”

Paul Kent believes the link to a return to the Warriors is a sign Papali’i is trying to make sure he does not end up at the Tigers at all costs.

“He hasn’t been convincing,” Kent said.

“Not only has he floated earlier in the year that he wants to stay at Parramatta, but it has also come out now that he is looking at a return to the Warriors, which is interesting.”

However, The Daily Telegraph’s Dave Riccio believes the links to the Warriors deny the reason he wanted to backflip on the Tigers in the first place.

“That won’t eventuate because the Warriors are the only club that provides wriggle room for Papali’i to get out of the contract because it is the only feasible reason he could use, which is for personal reasons because his girlfriend still lives in New Zealand,” Riccio said.


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Isaiah Papali’I wants to get out of his deal with the Tigers.Source: Getty Images

“That’s not the reason he wants to leave the Tigers. The reason he wants to leave the Tigers is because he wants to stay at Parramatta.

“His angst isn’t with . . . it is not about going home to the Warriors and New Zealand. It is about staying at Parramatta.”

However, Kent believes if the Warriors were able to meet his financial demands, then he could also return to the Warriors for family reasons and leave both the Eels and the Tigers in the lurch.

“That is true but if the Warriors now do come in with a late offer?” Kent questioned.

“Or is it about not going to the Tigers?”

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Isaiah Papali’I wants to stay at the Eels.Source: News Corp Australia

Paul Crawley believes Papali’i can only blame himself for signing with the Tigers, who have a history of sacking coaches.

“If he has any angst it should be with himself and his management,” Crawley said.

“I have signed with the Tigers. I have signed with a club that changes coaches almost annually.

“He took the big money on offer. Yes Michael Maguire was the coach, but the Tigers have gone through four coaches in the last 10 years. It shouldn’t come as any great surprise.

“The Tigers have got to hold their ground on this.”

However, Paul Kent and Braith Anasta pointed out that sometimes the coach is the main reason for players signing with clubs.

“Players sign with coaches,” Kent said.

“My take on this is different because when I first heard this I thought, I have not got to honor his contract,” Anasta said.

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“Then I had to think about it myself and I was in a very similar situation.

“It was the Tigers, but it could have been any club, where I signed at that club and Tim Sheens was the coach.

“He signed me for a specific reason. He wanted a certain something out of me in terms of leadership and direction with a few players there and he made the sell to me.

“He was the coach and the Australian coach and I wanted to play under Tim Sheens. That was the only reason I signed. The sole reason I signed.

“Then he got sacked a few weeks later. I honored the contract, but now I look back at it and I think it was a poor decision from me.

“If I had my time over it would have been in the best interests of me and the club not to go there because it wasn’t the right fit.

“I was taking hit ups off taps, which is one thing, but what I’m trying to say is if he doesn’t want to go there and he only went there because a coach wanted him for a specific role to play his part in that team.

“Sometimes motivation is solely because of the coach.

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“But if he has got the Warriors involved that is taking the piss because that to me is him just saying, I don’t want to go to the Tigers.”

Kent believes the Tigers are being hypocritical of Papali’i breaking his contract when they broke Michael Maguire’s in sacking him.

“The flip side for the Tigers is when they signed him (Papali’i), they had Michael Maguire as their contracted coach,” Kent said.

“They are happy to sack Maguire and break that contract, which then breaks the terms or understanding that was there with Papali’i.”

Regardless, Kent believes Papali’i’s inability to commit fully to the Tigers means the club needs to act fast to ensure their own best interests.

“Even yesterday when he spoke and he was very noncommittal and at one point he said, look I’ll just wait until November and sort it out then,” Kent said.

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“Now the Tigers have got every right to say hang on, you have got to figure out what is going on.

“They have got a salary cap to manage. They can’t sit there and wait for this guy until November.”

Riccio believes the Tigers are better off cutting their losses with Papali’i because he clearly isn’t committed to the club’s new vision for the future under Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall.

“That’s why the Tigers should move on now and use Papali’i’s money before it gets too late,” Riccio said.

“If they wait until November they won’t be able to use their money.

“The Tigers are at a critical point in their history. This is a turning point for the Wests Tigers club under Tim Sheens and the future under Benji Marshall.

“What do we stand for? What is our culture? Who do we want here? That’s all I’ve heard about what it is going to be like under Sheens and Marshall. We want players who want to represent the Wests Tigers and who want to be there.

“Have we heard Isaiah Papali’i say once, I cannot wait to get to the Wests Tigers?”