Tim Sheens – Michmutters

Isaiah Papali’i Wests Tigers backflip; Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall, team news, 2023 roster, Luke Brooks future

The Wests Tigers have been told to “win the war” over star recruit Isaiah Papali’i as the club faces a “massive moment” in its history.

The Eels enforcer was seen as a major coup when he inked a three-year $1.9 million deal in November.

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But the 23-year-old is reportedly weighing up his future after the Tigers parted ways with premiership winning coach Michael Maguire.

It is the first major challenge for the Tigers new coaching group of Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah, one that could shape the immediate future of the embattled club.

Speaking on NRL360, the Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield said it was vital that the club made sure Papali’i honored his lucrative contract.

“It’s no good the Wests Tigers having the new Sheens-Benji combination at the head of the club if they’re going to back down on something like this,” Rothfield said on Wednesday.

“It’s a crunch signing for them, as important as Api (Koroisau). They’ve got to stay strong.”

Papali’i was widely seen as one of the best new buys in the competition in 2021, as he was included in the Dally M Team of the Year after a stellar first season in blue and gold.

The talented forward played 25-games for the Eels last season, having scored seven tries, averaged 150 running meters per game, and made more than 800 tackles.

What’s more, his signature saw the Tigers part ways with the likes of Luke Garner and Luciano Leilua.

Isaiah Papali'i could backflip on his Tigers deal.
Isaiah Papali’i could backflip on his Tigers deal.Source: Getty Images

NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent said the saga surrounding Papali’i had seen the club reach a crossroads.

“It’s a massive moment in the club and the new future of the club, given the new appointment of the coaches,” he said.

Kent then questioned the re-signing of Brent Naden after the club announced this week he had inked an extension until the end of the 2025 season.

“If you’re going to go out and sell your club, Brent Naden is not the guy you’re going to go ‘look who we’ve just signed, come and play with us’,” Kent said.

“They’ve got to win the war of Papali’i first.”

Co-host Braith Anasta was also surprised by the Naden announcement and the club needed to identify what a Wests Tigers player represents.

“They’ve got the opportunity here, the Wests Tigers, and you see it with the Bulldogs at the moment, to start from the bottom up again,” Anasta said.

“They’ve got Sheens, they’ve got Marshall, great look, you want to attract players. You want to attract the right players from the start, set the tone.

“What sort of personality are you looking for? What sort of player do you want to be a Wests Tigers player? That’s what I’m talking about.”

Brent Naden signed an extension with the Tigers this week.Source: Getty Images

The Australian’s Brent Read said the Naden announcement, at a time where there is uncertainty surrounding a host of big-name Tigers stars, was not what fans wanted to see.

“He’s a tell me a dozen,” he said on NRL360.

“You know what the Wests Tigers fans want to hear about? They want to hear about (Adam) Doueihi, they want to hear about (Daine) Laurie, they want to hear about (Jackson) Hastings, they want to hear about (Luke) Brooks,” Read said.

“That’s what they care about. Brent Naden they can give or take, due respect to Brent Naden, but they want to hear what’s going on with those four blokes.”

Rothfield, however, said the club was right to lock Naden down.

“I think you’re being really unfair on that young fella, I really do,” he said.

“I think he’s a handy player,” Rothfield said. “You don’t let players go alright and handy players, you don’t not sign them.”

The drama surrounding the Tigers roster is unlikely to begin and end with Papali’i.

Luke Brooks has repeatedly been linked with a move to Newcastle despite denying he wants out.

Rumors about Luke Brooks’ future at the Tigers won’t go away.Source: Supplied

Fellow half Jackson Hastings’ future is also up in the air. The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month that Hastings, who has been playing lock, could be axed as part of a roster overhaul.

This report claimed there are people within the club who believe Hastings has had a negative influence on the playing group.

This week Rothfield then revealed another rumor surrounding Brooks which will do little to quell the feeling of uncertainty at Concord.

“There’s been all sorts of rumours,” he said.

“There was a strong one (Tuesday) that Luke Brooks was going to N and Frizell was coming to Wests Tigers as a swap. As an edge forward.

“Tim Sheens said it’s not happening but a lot of people saw it as insurance if Papali’i doesn’t come.”

Wests have also reportedly inquired about former Raiders second rower John Bateman, who is currently plying his trade back in England with Wigan.

The inquiry, as reported by Fox Sports’ James Hooper, is believed to be “unrelated to Isaiah Papali’i” and his contract drama.

“Tim’s got something going on cause I spoke to him this week, I asked him about Papali’i and he said ‘he’s coming and don’t worry there’s other stuff happening,” Read added.

“Edge backrower is an area that they need to address. He’d be a really handy one for them.”



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.



John Bateman to Wests Tigers, Wigan, Canberra Raiders, Super League, Jimmy Brings, James Hooper

The Wests Tigers have made an inquiry with Wigan about the prospect of bringing 2019 Dally M Backrower of the Year John Bateman back to the NRL in 2023.

In a move unrelated to Isaiah Papali’i having second thoughts about switching from Parramatta to Concord next year, Tigers director of football Tim Sheens has confirmed the club has made the approach.

The catch is going to be Bateman is under contract with Wigan until at least the end of 2024 and for now the Warriors have blocked the Tigers move.

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Bateman was one of the standout backrowers in the NRL the year the Canberra Raiders made the grand finale in 2019 before his tenure in the national capital sourced over a contract stalemate with the Green Machine.

Bateman then returned home to the UK at the end of the 2020 NRL season after inking a four-year deal with Wigan through until the end of 2024.

The Raiders were forced to pay a $250,000 transfer fee to Bradford to bring Bateman to the NRL the first time around but the one bonus with transfer fees to English clubs is they aren’t included in the NRL clubs salary cap.


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The Tigers have made a play for former Raiders star John Bateman.Source: Getty Images

The Bateman approach is creative thinking from Sheens trying to look outside the square and devise recruitment ploys aimed at overhauling the Wests Tigers roster.

The Tigers have made some recruitment moves this week by re-signing Brent Naden, Asu Kepoa and Starford To’a but the real recruitment space where they need to get busy is the re-signing of Adam Doueihi.

Doueihi is easily the Tigers best player, a local junior and the type of leader the Wests Tigers need to build the club around.

With Sheens and Benji Marshall now having control of the steering wheel at least it won’t be left to dithering management types to make another misguided mistake.

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‘He gets angry at some weird things’ | 01:13

The issue with Doueihi is he’s going to be a free agent as of November 1 and you can guarantee rival clubs are going to be getting the queue to try and convince the five-eighth to switch allegiances.

The Tigers need to sharpen their pencil and try and get a long-term deal done now prior to the stronger clubs being able to table a deal.

The Melbourne Storm have already had one crack at getting Doueihi on loan for the remainder of this year and with uncertainty surrounding the future of Cameron Munster the Tigers five-eighth would make an ideal replacement.



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.

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?”



Wests Tigers, Michael Maguire, Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Tim Sheens, coaching

Former Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has warned Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah about the “challenge” of coaching, with the pair set to begin their new roles next season.

The Tigers confirmed last month that legends Marshall and Farah would return to the club as assistant coaches next season, under famous coach Tim Sheens.

Former Kiwi Test star Marshall will then take over from Sheens in the top job for three seasons from 2025.

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Premiership winning coach Maguire is “looking forward” to seeing the famous duo reunite at the club where they both rose to fame, as they look to turn the Tigers around.

But speaking on The Back Page, ‘Madge’ also made sure to caution them about how difficult their new jobs can be.

“There’s many ways to do it so I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out,” Maguire said on The Back Page.

“Coaching is about spending time and actually coaching. They’ve got a few rookies that are going to come through and it is going to be a great challenge for the guys that are coming through in Benji and Robbie.


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“I think they’re qualified because of the experiences they’ve had but coaching is not just about what happens there. It is life, it’s about the player and looking after the quality of each individual.

“It’s going to be a really good challenge for them.”

Wests started the season with five consecutive losses before record back-to-back wins over premiership contenders Parramatta and South Sydney.

But the veteran coach of 233 NRL games was later sacked as the club continued their underwhelming form, winning just one from their next five.

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The Tigers were on another noteworthy losing run before their controversial loss to the Cowboys in Round 19, before bouncing back with an emphatic win over Brisbane last week.

Reflecting on his time at the club, Maguire said that his three-and-a-half-year tenure was a “great challenge.”

“I’m really fond of my time there, even though we didn’t get to where we wanted to get to and everyone wants to win a comp,” he said.

“But what I have learned over time and being in and around various clubs, is that we’re all working for the same thing but they’re so different.

“The makings of the club, where the club fits with their juniors to the recruiting to what goes on in the background, they’re all so different and that’s what us coaches enjoy, being able to bring that together to create the success.”

Maguire coached the World No. 1 Kiwis to a convincing 20-point win over Tonga in Auckland earlier this year, with rugby league returning to New Zealand.

With the World Cup just around the corner, the 48-year-old said that he’s focused on his role with New Zealand, but revealed that he wants to win another NRL premiership.

“I’ve taken a bit of a backwards step I guess. I’m just focused on the Kiwis and I’ve enjoyed that part because you don’t have the heat of the week-in, week-out. But I do miss that.

“That’s something that has always fueled myself, the challenge of each week. I’m starting to learn what it’s like to have the weekend and your family there because you’re so used to having to rise each week.

“I’m just sort of eyes wide open at the moment. I do love it [coaching] and I want to win another comp. To be in that arena is another desire.”



Newcastle Knights, Adam O’Brien, David Klemmer future, news, latest, transfers, Sam Walker, Rabbitohs, Latrell Mitchell

The divide in the Newcastle dressing room has been simmering for the past few months with Knights coach Adam O’Brien telling the playing group after a recent loss: “I know what you blokes are saying about me. I’m going nowhere.”

The point blank message from O’Brien can be revealed as the Knights go into damage control in the wake of the coach’s loose carry press conference last Sunday.

O’Brien fronted the media again on Tuesday to try and walk things back off the cliff but by that stage the cracks in the Newcastle dressing room had been prized wide open.

The David Klemmer situation has only driven a further wedge into the struggling club which has only managed five wins out of 19 games this year.

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The Knights started this season full of optimism after back-to-back wins over the Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers before going on a run of seven losses leading into Magic Round.

It’s been slim pickings since with Newcastle now having the worst defensive record in the NRL having leaked 522 points at an average of 27.47 points per game along with currently having the worst differential in the competition of minus 238 points.

There’s no question O’Brien’s penchant for a blow-up is wearing thin with elements of the Newcastle playing group.

The problem for O’Brien is in 2022 it’s so much easier to get rid of a head coach than it is to completely try and turn over a roster.

The old saying goes you’ve never really been a head coach until you’ve lost four games in a row and the heat is on – which is exactly where O’Brien finds himself now.

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David Klemmer’s future at Newcastle is clouded. NRL PHOTOSSource: The Daily Telegraph

The Knights are adamant O’Brien will remain as the head coach next season but the biggest immediate challenge the Newcastle coach faces is getting the playing group all back on the same page.

New Director of Football Peter Parr has arrived at Newcastle and could only be shaking his head at the bun fight he’s walked into.

O’Brien is signed with Newcastle until the end of 2024 which if the Knights stay the course would mean he’s had a five-year tenure at the club.

After the events of the past week it’s now become blatantly clear the Knights coach needs a fast start to next season to ensure his own job security.

Let’s call the Klemmer play from Newcastle for what it is – the Knights are clearly trying to free up some money to try and go in a different direction next season.

Klemmer is on $800,000-plus which would give Newcastle some serious money to go to the open market with.

Plenty of ex-players are happy to tell you middle forwards often protest against being dragged from the field.

Newcastle have clearly identified they no longer want the ex-NSW and Australian prop at the Knights and so have started the process of steering him towards another club.

Adam O’Brien has come under scrutiny this week. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images


The Sydney Roosters are set to launch a multi-million dollar play aimed at keeping young gun halfback Sam Walker at the Tricolours long-term.

Walker, 20, will be a free agent for rival clubs to approach as of November 1 but like all the good clubs the Roosters will try and make sure they strike a deal well beforehand.

The other rookie who has everyone talking at the Chooks is emerging superstar Joseph Suaalii. The Roosters clearly value his contribution to the team at the point where champion frontrower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been bringing him into leading the club’s team song over the past fortnight.

Jared has long been the Roosters leader in charge of leading the team song. Even after the Roosters were disappointed with their round 20 win over Manly, JWH still insisted on Suaalii riding shot gun with him leading the celebrations.

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THE Gold Coast Titans aren’t the only club having a crack at signing Sydney Roosters hooker Sam Verrills.

The St George Illawarra Dragons are also making a play for the premiership-winning no.9.

Where it gets interesting is the Dragons have had a tough conversation with current hooker Andrew McCullough.

McCullough, 32, still has a year to run on his contract next season but the Red V are clearly exploring going in a different direction.

McCullough is one of the ex-Broncos clique of Dragons players who enjoys a close rapport with Red V coach Anthony Griffin.

The hooker, Dragons captain Ben Hunt and Josh Maguire all played in an under 20s grand finale with the Broncos in 2008 when Griffin was the coach.

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The Wests Tigers putting the band back together with Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah is a smart play from the struggling club.

What’s equally as smart is Farah’s new contract stipulating that he’s also set to learn the ropes in terms of front office administration with the club.

The Tigers have long been laughed at by rival clubs about the way the club has been run.

Getting a figurehead like Farah who has bled for the club more hands-on in this department makes a lot of sense.


We told you last week how South Sydney had a delicate $6 million balancing act on their hands around the re-signings of superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell and five-eighth star Cody Walker.

We were told there was a big chance the two key position players would wait until after November 1 to re-commit to South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs have swiftly moved to try and nip the scenario in the bud by meeting with the star duo earlier this week.

Both Latrell and Cody are off-contract at the end of next season but with talks progressing positively there’s every chance they can soon re-commit to the Bunnies.

It will be a huge coup for the red and green club and also for CEO Blake Solly.



Reason rep star Ken Maumalo turned down Melbourne Storm

Wests Tigers winger Ken Maumalo has revealed a chat with cousin Nelson Asofa-Solomona almost convinced him to head to the Storm on loan for the rest of the season, but in the end, his young family kept him in Sydney.

Maumalo and teammate Daine Laurie were reportedly some of the players the Storm chased before the August 1 deadline as they looked to bolster their outside backs after long-term injuries to Ryan Papenhuyzen, Reimis Smith and George Jennings.

And while Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma did make the move south, his teammates stayed put.

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David Nofoaluma has settled right in with teammates Brandon Smith and Xavier Coates. Picture: Tony GoughSource: News Corp Australia

“They’re looking for some players at the moment, but I just said that I’ve got a family and it’s too much of a move for me,” Maumalo said.

“’Nofa’ is the perfect person to go over because he’s got no family, no kids, so it’s better for him.

“I got my cousin who called me from Melbourne – Nelson – and he said that Craig (Storm coach Craig Bellamy) mentioned my name to him.

“He said I should keep it on the backburner and just see where things are at. I said if things go well and to plan, then why not, but it was too much of a move.”

Maumalo said the lure of playing football finals and potentially winning a premiership was tempting, but he couldn’t turn his back on the Tigers who are looking to bring back the glory days under Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall.

“It’s a good opportunity to go over and be in a good system and a system that has been good for a number of years now,” he said.

“That was the exciting part of it, but I’m doing this for my family, myself and my teammates here. I’m trying to build this club up again to where it was back in 2005.”

Tigers fullback Daine Laurie was also linked with a move to Melbourne, but the youngster says that may not have been entirely true.

Daine Laurie denies he was ever linked to the Storm. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“I didn’t know anything about it. I only saw it in the media,” he said.

“I saw it on Instagram and I was kind of confused about it because I hadn’t heard anything off my manager.

“I would’ve been shy as if I’d gone down there. If that opportunity had come, then I probably would’ve wanted to stay here anyway.”

Maumalo’s focus remains on helping the Tigers finish strongly in 2022, but he does have one eye on the World Cup at the end of the year.

The 28-year-old has represented both New Zealand and Samoa, but says he’s ready to commit to the Kiwis.

Ken Maumalo is hoping for more of this in the UK. Picture: AAP Image/David RowlandSource: AAP

New Zealand has lost a number of players, including Jason Taumalolo, to second-tier nations over the past few years, but Maumalo says the team is getting back to its best as they look to dethrone the Kangaroos at the World Cup.

“The Kiwis jersey sort of lost itself around 2016-17 when those players were jumping ship to play for Tonga and Samoa,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to debut in 2018 to help build that jersey with the number of players that were there.

“The jersey is in a good spot now where it should have been for the past couple of years, and now I’m keen to push that jersey and keep building on that jersey.

“There’s so much depth now in the Kiwis squad, so no matter who turns to Tonga or Samoa, we’ve still got a big roster with a number of good Kiwis playing across the NRL and the UK.”



Luke Brooks, Tim Sheens, Wests Tigers, Benji Marshall, contract, future, transfers

Incoming Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has confirmed he wants halfback Luke Brooks to remain at the club next season and beyond on a reduced contract.

The Daily Telegraph reported Sheens wants Brooks to see out the remainder of his contract which expires at the end of 2023, before signing an extension on a reduced salary.

Speculation is rife that the Tigers were keen to move Brooks on given his salary is worth a reported $1.3 million on their salary cap for 2023.

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Brooks reportedly twice sought a release from the remainder of his contract last season to move to the Knights, despite denials from the No.7.

The 27-year-old, who is currently injured, has scored 42 tries in 189 games for the Tigers since his debut in 2013, but has never tasted finals football during a tough period for the club, who have the longest finals drought in the NRL stretching back to 2011.

Brooks has been linked to the Dolphins and the Knights for 2023, but Sheens, who will take over the team for 2023 and 2024, wants him to stay, but on a reduced deal.


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Tim Sheens wants Luke Brooks to stay.Source: Supplied

“Obviously everyone would prefer it to be at less money,” Sheens told The Daily Telegraph.

“But we can sit down and negotiate with him and extend the contract out.”

Sheens categorically denied the club were looking to move Brooks on to free up salary cap space for 2023.

“On the record, he’s contracted,” Sheens said.

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Luke Brooks and Benji Marshall.Source: AAP

“Point blank. He is contracted to us and I expect him to turn up for pre-season training.”

Jock Madden starred in Brooks’ absence in a win over the Broncos in Round 20, but remains unsigned beyond 2022, while the club also has Adam Doueihi and Jackson Hastings on their books for next season.

Sheens and incoming assistant Benji Marshall have publicly thrown their support behind the embattled playmaker, but the former refused to guarantee Brooks would finish his career at the Tigers.

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“Unless the world changes, that’s what I’m doing (trying to get Brooks to stay),” Sheens said.

“Can I ever (guarantee he’ll stay)? Not one can. But I’m not indicating he’s leaving.

“I like the kid and I want him in the side. Benji loves him and wants him in the side. But we can’t say any more than that.”

Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis also threw his support behind Brooks.

“A guarantee is not a word that I use comfortably in my capacity as chairman or as a lawyer, but Luke Brooks has a contract with the Wests Tigers for 2023,” Hagipantelis told Fox Sports News.

“Tim Sheens spoke publicly in the last 24 hours of his intentions to retain him. We are all big fans of Luke.

“He is a one club player. I would love to see him finish out his career at the Wests Tigers.

“Are there challenges there for both parties? Perhaps. Both have identified those.

“But the reality is he is a truly gifted footballer and I would love to see him perform at his best for the Wests Tigers.”

Hagipantelis clarified that there would be no pay cut for Brooks’ existing contract and it would be up to the club and the player to meet in the middle over a contract extension.

“There will be no pay cut concerned with his current contractual arrangements,” Hagipantelis said.

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“He will be paid in full. We will honor that. I think Tim was alluding to the end of the current contractual arrangements.

“Those are matters for the club and the player to negotiate what they think is a fair market value.

“It is always up in the air. There is an underlying tension of course. Players want to receive as much as they can, which is understandable and clubs want to pay as little as they can, which is of course just as understandable.

“At the moment those discussions have not been held. There is a long way to go.

“Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah are assimilating themselves into the roster at the moment. They will decide moving forward.

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“Unfortunately the injuries to Luke and Jackson Hastings have thrown a little spanner into the works because I know the boys were very keen to see the combinations work for the balance of this year. But they will work it out.”

However, like Sheens, Hagipantelis left the door ajar for Brooks to potentially move on in the future if it suited both him and the club.

“Never say never because every option would be considered on its merits at the time,” Hagipantelis said when asked if he would consider an offer from another club for Brooks’ services.

“But as we speak at this very moment there is nothing on the table. There is no consideration. There is nothing before me or the board to suggest Luke Brooks will not fulfill his contractual obligations with the Wests Tigers and nothing would make me happier.”