2021 Rumoured and confirmed signings (NON-DISCUSSION THREAD).

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Former Maroons legends Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston are expected to be considered for coaching roles with Queensland after Paul Green told officials he wanted to pursue an NRL job.

The Maroons are understood to be hoping to make a quick decision on their fourth State of Origin coach in as many seasons after deciding they wanted someone who could make a long-term commitment to the role.

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Winger Jordan Pereira will join the Brisbane Broncos from 2022 onwards.
The strong finisher with 38 NRL games to his name becomes a Bronco on a two-year contract to the end of the 2023 season.

The 28-year-old joins the Broncos from the Dragons where he made his debut in 2018 before going on to play two finals games that season, including a victory over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
 
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Canterbury halfback Lachlan Lewis has been sacked following an investigation into the theft of a speaker.
The Bulldogs made the announcement in a statement on their website on Tuesday night, after he was handed a breach notice and an investigation was undertaken regarding his alleged involvement in the theft.

 
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Meanwhile, Tigers backrower Luke Garner has again been linked with a move to the Sea Eagles. Garner, who played under-20s at Manly, still has another 12 months left on his deal at the Tigers.

TAHS LAND SEA EAGLES FLYER

We revealed last week that Manly flyer Tevita Funa was close to switching codes to join the NSW Waratahs. Well that deal is as good as done. Funa will link-up with the Waratahs on a one-year contract when his commitments with the Sea Eagles end. Funa, 23, has played 16 top grade games for the Sea Eagles.
 
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There’s a rumour Manly coach Des Hasler is keen on offering former Kangaroos and Blues forward Aaron Woods a cut-price two-year deal to help with development of his young forwards at Brookvale. Hasler was the coach who signed the one-time Dally M prop of the year at Canterbury from Wests Tigers in 2018.
 
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There’s a rumour Manly coach Des Hasler is keen on offering former Kangaroos and Blues forward Aaron Woods a cut-price two-year deal to help with development of his young forwards at Brookvale. Hasler was the coach who signed the one-time Dally M prop of the year at Canterbury from Wests Tigers in 2018.

Any link to the article?
 
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Kikau names staggering asking price
—Peter Badel

The Panthers are facing a $1 million battle to retain Viliame Kikau with his management revealing salary-cap pressures could force the blockbusting back-rower out of Penrith.

On the eve of the Panthers-Eels sudden-death finals blockbuster in Mackay on Saturday night, Kikau’s agent George Christodoulou admits the Fijian sensation could be a casualty of Penrith’s rise as a premiership contender.

Breaking his silence on the Kikau contract saga, Christodoulou says the back-row wrecking ball’s preference is to stay at Penrith — and he hopes to get a deal done — but isn’t sure if the Panthers can meet the Fijian’s $800,000 price tag.
 
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Any link to the article?

Saint, Sinner, Shoosh: Jarrod Mullen awarded life membership at Newcastle Knights​

SHOOSH
There’s a rumour Manly coach Des Hasler is keen on offering former Kangaroos and Blues forward Aaron Woods a cut-price two-year deal to help with development of his young forwards at Brookvale. Hasler was the coach who signed the one-time Dally M prop of the year at Canterbury from Wests Tigers in 2018.

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Aaron Woods has attracted Des Hasler’s attention at Manly. Picture: David Swift.


JUNIOR GETS A TASTE FOR CHANGE
There are rumours around rugby league circles that Wayne Pearce is lobbying for yet another extension to his 10-year stint on the independent commission. This will be strongly opposed by the clubs who are over his endeavours to continually change the rules of the game. Surely it’s time for some fresh people and fresh ideas.

HAVING A LEND, SAM
We had this interesting email from a reader this week about Sam Burgess.
“How does the medically retired Sam Burgess have the physical capacity to be a part of SAS Australia on Channel 7?” questioned our reader.
“He is showing commendable fortitude to complete SAS-type activities, on a shoulder with 25% bone cartilage left, and struggles to lift his arm over 90 degrees, as was reported at the time of his retirement.
“Is this a case of the Bunnies pulling the wool over the NRL eyes?”
And it is probably a fair question to be asking.
 
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Saint, Sinner, Shoosh: Jarrod Mullen awarded life membership at Newcastle Knights​


We can now reveal the reason why Broncos stars Jordon Riki and Tom Flegler came to blows at the team’s post-season drinks in Brisbane.
Despite denials from the club re the seriousness of the incident, Flegler and Riki were not just involved in what was described as a playful wrestle according to our mail.
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Brisbane's Jordan Riki and Thomas Flegler.
The incident reached a flash point when Riki continually goaded another Broncos player.
Flegler took exception to his antics and told him to stop. When he didn’t, he copped one on the chin. Riki needed stitches in his lip and was noticeable in his absence at the team’s awards presentation the next evening.

Cocaine, steroids and life membership​

The Newcastle Knights selected former halfback Jarrod Mullen as a life member — the club’s highest honour for former players.
This is despite Mullen being banned from the NRL for four years for steroid use and later being convicted of trafficking more than $10,000 worth of cocaine.
Mullen was spared a jail sentence and instead given a two-year community corrections order and 300 hours of community service.
In fairness, the former State of Origin halfback has worked extremely hard on a long road to redemption and is now happily settled as father and a respected figure amongst his old teammates.


Knights general manager and club legend Danny Buderus has supported the decision to grant him the life membership that has now been ratified by the board.



Jarrod Mullen has been granted life membership at the Newcastle Knights.
“I can understand where you are coming from,” Buderus said. “He made a lot of mistakes, no doubt about it. People might be polarised by the decision but the club and the old boys think it’s the right thing to do.”
Mullen spoke to Nine Newspapers last year about his personal battle with drugs.
There was the time he woke up in the intensive care unit at John Hunter Hospital after a shocking bender.
“A lot of people thought I’d overdosed on purpose because my life had spiralled out of control,” he said.
“I didn’t. When you’re in that addictive state, everyone else is crazy but you.
“I knew I was taking hardcore drugs, but I still didn’t think I had a problem — which is amazing. It’s insane.”

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Knights players are automatically entitled to life membership after 200 games. Mullen played 211 matches. The steroid ban ended his career in the NRL.
Buderus insists the Knights have made the right decision.
“He played for more than a decade and captained the team on occasions,” Buderus said. “He’s worked really hard to get his life back on track. We’re actually really proud of him.
“Instead of looking back, we’re looking forward.”
All the latest NRL chatter and more in Australia’s hottest sport gossip column.
SAINT
You’ve got to respect NRL boss Andrew Abdo for his call to avoid a clash with the AFL grand final by rescheduling Melbourne Storm’s preliminary final to an afternoon game next Saturday. Abdo had earlier said in this column: “We’ll stand our ground. Sports lovers will have to make a choice.” Abdo could have ignored the reaction from fans who wanted to watch both. Instead he admitted he got it wrong. It’s the sign of a very good administrator.
SINNER
The season can’t end quickly enough for the NRL and its football department, bunker, match review committee and judiciary. That Roosters hooker Sam Verrills copped a two-week ban for a nothing incident last weekend was the final straw. With modern technology, fans expect and are entitled to get consistency with all foul play adjudications.

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Panthers assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo has plenty of admirers. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
SHOOSH
Which Penrith star is waiting to find out if Cameron Ciraldo gets the coaching job at the Wests Tigers before deciding his long-term future? Ciraldo is hugely respected by all the Panthers youngsters
SHOOSH
NSW Blues Origin forward Angus Crichton didn’t help his case for a contract extension at the Sydney Roosters with a poor performance against Manly in a game where the Roosters desperately needed their leaders to stand up.
SHOOSH
There’s a rumour Manly coach Des Hasler is keen on offering former Kangaroos and Blues forward Aaron Woods a cut-price two-year deal to help with development of his young forwards at Brookvale. Hasler was the coach who signed the one-time Dally M prop of the year at Canterbury from Wests Tigers in 2018.

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Aaron Woods has attracted Des Hasler’s attention at Manly. Picture: David Swift.
SPOTTED
Ex-Dragons and now Bulldogs fullback Matt Dufty enjoying a holiday on Hamilton Island rather than return home to the south coast and life in lockdown.
SPOTTED
Michael Ennis back at Fox Sports on Saturday as a co-commentator for the Panthers v Eels. Ennis had to stand down from his TV commitments last week after being hospitalised by what doctors have now diagnosed as a severe stomach virus.
SPOTTED
NRL clubs are getting some nice feedback about their players in south-east Queensland. The Canberra Raiders received a lovely letter from the CEO of Currumbin Beach SLSC, Michael Sullivan. Ricky Stuart’s Raiders used the facility for recovery, meals and functions.
“Our staff had nothing but praise for the group and the respectful and courteous manner in which they conducted themselves each day,” Sullivan wrote. “Your patronage and support will go a long way to helping us put essential life saving equipment on the beach this upcoming season and being able to provide a well-resourced and safe aquatic environment for our beach patrons in the coming months.”
DES HASLER’S SEASON OF STYLE
This is the evolution of a bad hairdo.
And it’s got more to do with being superstitious rather than not having access to barber in south east Queensland.
Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler says he can’t remember the last time he had his locks trimmed.

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Des Hasler in pre-season. Picture: NRL Photos

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Des Hasler in Round 1.
He looked so unkempt at his Friday night press conference in Mackay after victory over the Roosters.
So we rang him on Saturday morning in a conversation that was as short as a number one buzz cut.
Buzz: When are you getting it cut?
Des: I’ll get around to it.

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Des Hasler in Round 5.

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Des Hasler in Round 10.
Buzz: Is it a superstition?
Des: No-one really cares.
Dessie is as superstitious as anyone in the game.

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Des Hasler Round 15 - evolution of a bad hair cut

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Des Hasler in Round 20.
So much so that he still wears a pair of his favourite old shoes from 1990 to big games for good luck.
And as for his hair … hopefully it will be shaved off at the end of season for a good charity.

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Des Hasler in Round 22.

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Des Hasler in week two of the NRL finals.
REFS, LAWS ARE KILLING RUGBY AS A SPECTACLE
Wallabies legend David Campese has turned the blowtorch on rugby union and its referees, rules, stoppages and penalty goals that are killing the game as a spectacle.
“If you want to succeed as a sport in Australia, you’ve got to entertain people,” Campese said. “The spectacle is the game and the players; not the laws, not the referees.
“Referees are destroying the game. They have got to realise that fans pay to watch entertaining rugby, not referees blowing penalties all the time. It’s a fact that there are too many rules in the game, but it also comes back to their interpretation.”
The Wallabies scored a huge upset win over South Africa last weekend but managed only one try to the Springboks’ three. Quade Cooper kicked eight goals from eight attempts.
Campese loved watching an Australian win but is concerned about the product.
“Thanks to Stan and Channel 9, rugby is now on free-to-air, which opens up the game to a huge audience,” he said. “But to capture their interest, rugby needs to be exciting and entertaining.
“Last week I travelled up to Emerald in the middle of Queensland. I coached grassroots teams at a club for four-and-a-half hours. I always ask kids: ‘Who is your favourite player?’
“More often than not, they say they haven’t got one. Kids these days don’t have a rugby idol because they don’t watch the game on TV. We have to ask ourselves, why is this? It comes back to the spectacle. Too much stop-start. It’s boring and too hard to follow.”
Rugby purists will no doubt be critical of Campese’s comments.
However, surely they can’t be satisfied watching boring penalty goals rather than the glorious tries from the proud old days of Australian rugby.


HOCKEY’S CULTURE OF BULLYING REVEALED
A confidential report into elite programs at NSW hockey has uncovered a culture of bullying and inappropriate behaviour that threatens the future of administrators and calls for a complete overhaul of junior development and pathways.
The independent review has made recommendations for cultural change involving staff, volunteers and players, but will not be made public because minors are involved.
More than 100 players and staff were interviewed for the report, which was commissioned on the back of a Sunday Telegraph investigation in June from the national titles in Tasmania, focusing on issues with the girls under 18 team.
Chief executive David Thompson and pathways boss Richard Willis are amongst those in the firing line as the NSW hockey board considers its options, although there is no suggestion of inappropriate behaviour from either man. Thompson did not return calls. He had earlier been in denial in regard to reports of bullying and inappropriate behaviour at the Australian championships.
“We spoke to the coaches,” he said. “There are a few girls that aren’t friendly with each other … I think it’s girls being girls, kids being kids.”
The findings in the review were critical of multiple issues in high-performance pathways and questionable rep selection decisions.


JUNIOR GETS A TASTE FOR CHANGE
There are rumours around rugby league circles that Wayne Pearce is lobbying for yet another extension to his 10-year stint on the independent commission. This will be strongly opposed by the clubs who are over his endeavours to continually change the rules of the game. Surely it’s time for some fresh people and fresh ideas.
HAVING A LEND, SAM
We had this interesting email from a reader this week about Sam Burgess.
“How does the medically retired Sam Burgess have the physical capacity to be a part of SAS Australia on Channel 7?” questioned our reader.
“He is showing commendable fortitude to complete SAS-type activities, on a shoulder with 25% bone cartilage left, and struggles to lift his arm over 90 degrees, as was reported at the time of his retirement.
“Is this a case of the Bunnies pulling the wool over the NRL eyes?”
And it is probably a fair question to be asking.
Off topic, but it is an excellent reader question at the end of this column re Sam Burgess’s participation in SAS Australia as a medical retiree.
 
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Wests Tigers are reportedly on the verge of sacking coach Michael Maguire.

The Concord club won eight NRL games and finished 13th this season, marking a decade since the team last featured in finals.

Maguire has been in charge of the outfit for two seasons and signed a contract extension at the end of last year. He still has two years to run on that deal.
 

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