recall enforcer – 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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‘THEY HAVE SWAGGER’: Panthers defended amid arrogance claims from Storm

‘HAVE TO BE TAPPED’: Roosters crisis as seven stars command half of salary cap

WHISPERS: Bronco out in cold as rivals deny approach, Eels gun open to code switch

ROSTER OVERHAUL: Tigers target ex-Raiders star Bateman as Sheens gets creative

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’.”

Tom Trbojevic reveals World Cup doubts | 01:12

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.

“A big overreaction’ Johns on Klemmer | 04:26

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.



NRL 2022: Paul Kent slams ‘idiots’ calling for season ban as NRL accused of scapegoating Ricky Stuart

Paul Kent has blasted the decision from the NRL to hand down a one week suspension to Ricky Stuart for his infamous spray of Panthers playmaker Jaeman Salmon.

Stuart is banned from all duties with the Raiders team for a period of one week and was hit with a $25,0000 fine for calling Salmon a “weak-gutted dog”.

“Is this sufficient or over the top?” Braith Anasta asked on NRL 360.

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“It says that the NRL are just trying to set an example here because he is actually the first coach to be suspended.”

Kent believes the NRL have been looking to set an example for coaches criticizing officials and chose to make Stuart the test case after his unique outburst at a player over personal history.

“I don’t agree with it,” Kent said.

“I think the NRL have been looking to suspend a coach and they engineered backwards on this one.

“I think they went backwards from OK this is an opportunity to do it, so let’s apply it.

“I had a vigorous conversation today with Andrew Abdo. I understand where he is coming from. I don’t agree with it and he doesn’t agree where I’m coming from.

“His reason was because the comment was made in a public forum, which was an unacceptable comment.”

Kent took aim at the over the top reactions from nameless people on radio who were calling for Stuart to be banned for the rest of the season.

“Those idiots on radio who don’t even use their own names and sit there and say he should get the rest of the season, piss off,” Kent said.

“Who cares what they think. There is too many people who I don’t think are invested enough in the game. They just have these off the cuff comments.

“Ricky Stuart said the wrong thing. I have acknowledged that almost immediately.

“I have not defended once the fact that he said it where he said it. I understand the reasons he did and I still believe if the reasons ever came out then people and public opinion would swiftly turn in his favor.

“I spoke to Abdo about that today and he said, we could not find corroborating evidence about that.

“I said, well you have given yourself what? You started the investigation yesterday and you have closed it today, so you haven’t really had a real crack at finding corroborating evidence. But I’ll accept that.

“I just don’t believe this was worthy of a one-game suspension when we know for a fact that they have been angling to do this for some time to find the coach to do it to.”

The Daily Telegraph’s Dave Riccio revealed the NRL had another coach in their sights to ban, before Stuart was the first to be made an example of.

“The NRL have been considering going down this path for some time with coaches who have a history of being fined for post match comments,” Riccio said.

“They know that the fine system isn’t having an impact.

“I know of a situation where the NRL were considering hitting another coach with a game ban. A separate coach to Ricky.”

Kent believes there is no consistency and link between the Stuart ban and coaches criticizing referees after matches.

“The NRL have had this suspension system, that they have now implemented, in place to apply to coaches because they don’t believe coaches are getting the lesson about generally criticizing referees after the game,” Kent said.

“Then on the other hand we have got this incident, which is such a one-off and so out of context with anything that has ever happened in the game.

“It is the first time it has happened and I think if you treated it as a once in a lifetime thing where you say, you have really stuffed up here and shouldn’t have done it therefore you are going to be fined for it and that’s it. I think it would rest there.

“But they have managed to take the bit out of this that they want to apply and the bit out of that they want to apply and they have put it all in there and ignored the overall picture.

“There is no consistency between saying, Ricky you said the wrong thing here and it is extremely out of left field what you have done, but by the same token you blokes aren’t copping the tip so we are going to sit down and apply what we apply to every other coach. There is no consistency there.”

Riccio believes the ban on Stuart from not even being involved with the club in any way for a whole week is harsh, given what players cop for indiscretions.

“I think it is tough, Riccio said.

“If we look at it from the aspect of a player when they get suspended they miss the game.

“The best part of the week for a coach is game day and coaching the game. When a player gets suspended they don’t miss training. They are still allowed to be part of the group.

“It is hugely significant. It shouldn’t be underestimated how big this is because he can’t do anything whatsoever.

“He has basically been deregistered for one week. I would be happy for him to miss the game not the entire preparation. I think it is harsh because take away what hurts him most and that is game day. That is coaching.”

However, Paul Crawley believes the NRL had no choice but to give Stuart a suspension given the nature of his comments directed at a player and thinks it is a fair result, but defended the circumstances surrounding the mistake from the Raiders coach.

“I think the NRL had no choice but to hand down a match suspension,” Crawley said.

“There were calls for Ricky to be stood down for the remainder of the season and that was just outrageous and ridiculous.

“I think one game is about as fair as it could have been. There is no doubt in the world Ricky has shown remorse for his comments on him and the club have backed the NRL to make whatever decision they have made and Ricky will learn from it.

“But at the end of the day Ricky is Ricky and coaches make mistakes.

“They are forced to go to these press conferences and forced to front up when they are at their emotional best.

“He got through that entire press conference and he got to the last question and the name was brought up and that’s what he reacted to and if people understand that they may understand the reason he did it.”

Originally published as ‘P**s off’: Host slams ‘idiots’ calling for season ban as NRL accused of scapegoating Ricky Stuart



North Queensland Cowboys Tom Dearden was ‘shell of a person’ when he arrived from Brisbane, Todd Payten Face to Face interview

Cowboys coach Todd Payten has made a startling admission about young gun Tom Dearden, revealing the rising playmaker was a “shell of a person” when he arrived at the club.

Dearden, 21, was once heralded as a star of the future at the Brisbane Broncos before he reportedly fell out of favor with head coach Kevin Walters.

The five-eighth signed with rivals North Queensland on a three-year deal, and was later a granted a mid-season transfer.

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Papali’i to backflip on $1.9m & Tigers? | 07:26

Both clubs were struggling towards the bottom of the ladder, with the Broncos having claimed the wooden spoon for the first time in their history the season before.

While Dearden insisted that his confidence hadn’t taken a hit by how things turned out at the Broncos, coach Payten has now revealed he saw things differently.

“He was a shell of a person, I’ve got to say,” Payten told Matty Johns on Fox League’s face to face

“He was nervous and second guessing himself, whether it was on or off the pitch.

“What I did like about him was the way he trained. He’s super competitive, he’s really professional, and playing footy means something to him.

Tom Trbojevic reveals World Cup doubts | 01:12

“He’s wanted to play NRL since he was a kid and you can see that in the way he goes about it.”

North Queensland took a backwards step in 2021 and finished a place behind the Broncos in 15th.

But a stellar pre-season, with Dearden among the standouts, has thrust the club into premiership contention this year.

Payten said while the senior players helped lead the team throughout the successful pre-season, younger players including Dearden, Reuben Cotter and Tom Gilbert also impressed.

These players helped the Cowboys learn from their mistakes, as they trained by practicing things that “they weren’t expecting”.

“They train hard, everyone trains hard so that’s a given. Through our review, I’m talking about the coaches review… we watched all of the tries that we’d conceded which was not fun to view,” Payten said.


‘NOT CONVINCING’: Twist in star’s Tigers backflip saga as Warriors reunion emerges

‘ENGINEERED’: NRL accused of making Ricky scapegoat with ‘harsh’ ban

‘NOT AT OUR CLUB’: Payten reveals Thurston didn’t want him amid GF grudge

TEAMS ANALYSIS: Broncos’ backline shake-up; Knights recall enforcer

“A lot of those, I think about 60 per cent of those would come from missed tackles that should’ve been made or guys not competing enough.

“We conceded the most tries from kicks in the competition and that affected our headspace in games. We’d defend two sets and then from a guy not getting their job done or someone not competing hard enough, we’d conceded a try.

“As soon as something upset the rhythm or went against them, we didn’t have the mental or physical capacity to get on with the job.

“(We had to) just build around upsetting rhythm in different ways. Doing things that they weren’t expecting to do at different times and causing a little bit of chaos and seeing how they handled it.

“We got better as the preseason went on.”

Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom DeardenSource: Supplied

Dearden has reaped the rewards of the Cowboys’ successful season, as they currently sit in second behind the Panthers, by making his Origin debut for Queensland.

The up-and-comer announced himself on one of the game’s biggest stages, as he helped inspire his state to win in the decider at Suncorp Stadium.



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.


‘ENGINEERED’: NRL accused of making Ricky scapegoat with ‘harsh’ ban

‘NOT AT OUR CLUB’: Payten reveals Thurston didn’t want him amid GF grudge

TEAMS ANALYSIS: Broncos’ backline shake-up; Knights recall enforcer

BANNED: NRL hand down Ricky ban as coach cops $25k fine for Salmon outburst

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.

Stuart given 1 week ban, 25K fine! | 07:40

“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.

TEASER: Payten sits down with Matty | 00:46

“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.

Wests Tigers opt not to take legal action | 00:47

“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?”



Todd Payten, Johnathan Thurston, Face-to-face with Matty Johns, Cowboys, Tigers, 2005 grand finale

Watch Todd Payten on Face-to-face with Matty Johns on Tuesday night at 7.30pm on Fox League.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten revealed Johnathan Thurston originally didn’t want him at the club due to the fact he beat him in the 2005 Grand Final, while playing for the Tigers.

Payten’s Tigers beat Thurston’s Cowboys 30-16 in the 2005 decider and the future Immortal took the loss as hard as anyone on the night.

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However, even nearly 10 years later when Payten joined the Cowboys as an assistant, Thurston wasn’t interested in having a player who beat him in a grand final coaching at his club.

“A funny story he (Thurston) didn’t want me at the club,” Payten said on Face-to-face with Matty Johns.

“Obviously we had a history, Tigers vs. Cowboys in the 2005 Grand Final.

“Peter Parr brought it up with Johnno and he said, no way he is not at our club.

“In the end he had to be talked around and I’m grateful that they talked him around.”


TEAMS ANALYSIS: Broncos’ backline shake-up; Knights recall enforcer

BANNED: NRL hand down Ricky ban as coach cops $25k fine for Salmon outburst

REVEALED: NRL’s punishment for Ricky for ugly spray as Kent slams

NEW ERA: Storm in ‘serious decline’ if Munster leaves as ‘biggest test’ looms

Johnathan Thurston was shattered after the Cowboys lost the 2005 decider.Source: News Limited

Johns asked if the rivalry between the Tigers and the Cowboys was that strong to last nearly a decade after the 2005 Grand Final.

“Was the rivalry that bitter?” Johns asked.

“No, it wasn’t bitter,” Payten said.

“It just typifies the type of competitor Johnno is. He doesn’t like to lose.

“I’d run across Johnno at different times in different places and he was always a decent fella to talk to, but losing grand finals is hard to get over.”

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Cowboys coach Todd Payten.Source: News Corp Australia

However, Thurston welcomed Payten to the club and they made two grand finals and won the 2015 decider together 10 years after that fateful 2005 match.

“It was enjoyable,” Payten said of coaching Thurston and the Cowboys of that era.

“I was a little bit gun shy with Johnno (Thurston) at first. He was one of the best players in the world and my thought process was, how am I going to tell him what to do?

Wests Tigers opt not to take legal action | 00:47

“But after a while he pulled me aside and said, mate tell me the truth, I want to know.

“That’s when I worked out that the elite players want to be coached and they want some information.

“He put me at ease with that.”