Cya Slater -------> Handbag Harris

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Cya Slater -------> Handbag Harris

Sea Eagles close in on Orford

By Steve Mascord
July 16, 2005


Manly's odds of snaring halfback Matt Orford in the next 48 hours have shortened dramatically with Sea Eagles second-rower Sam Harris understood to have been offered a release to open up salary cap space.

South Sydney, Melbourne and the Sea Eagles all said they were still waiting for an answer from the City Origin halfback last night, but the news that rugby union convert Harris may be headed for Wests Tigers gave a compelling hint of what was happening behind the scenes.

"I don't know where you get your information from - it all depends what happens," Manly executive director Paul Cummings said last night.

"I've got no comment on that, but I can assure you we won't be releasing a lot of players."

Penrith prop Ben Ross - linked with Cronulla, Souths and the Storm - is due to phone the clubs with an answer this morning.

In other news, South Sydney patriarch George Piggins last night dared NRL officials to sue him for defamation, saying he would produce documentary proof of a salary cap breach by a rival club if they did.

AdvertisementFollowing the decision by his nephew Braith Anasta to join Sydney Roosters, Piggins said he would have no trouble proving one NRL club rorted the cap "two or three years ago".

"If they had the balls, they'd take me to court," he said. "If I go to court, I'll produce - simple as that. It's another club … what's a breach? A hundred thousand over the cap, $50,000 over?

"I've made the accusations. They want to go to court? Take me to court."

But Piggins said he would not pass the evidence on to the NRL to help in an investigation because "the way they treated me, they can go jump in the lake".

Piggins also called for a points system to be introduced, with players ascribed value for cap purposes based on their experience and standing in the game, to create greater accountability.

"The idea's been around a while but maybe it's too transparent for people who don't want to abide by it," he said.

NRL chief executive David Gallop said: "We were pleased that Souths and George retracted any suggestion of criticism of the salary cap auditor this morning. On that basis, we don't propose any further action is necessary. We remain interested in any real evidence in relation to the cap but so far an incorrect, anonymous letter and a vague hearsay comment are all we've got."

Meanwhile, forward Bryce Gibbs faces disciplinary action from Wests Tigers after allegedly doing "a runner" from a $100 cab fare and being charged with assault yesterday.

Police allege that 20-year-old Gibbs caught a cab from North Sydney to Campbelltown early yesterday morning after the joint-venture side took advantage of this weekend's bye.

A NSW Police statement said: "Police will allege the taxi stopped in Campbelltown. However, the passenger got out of the vehicle without paying and ran from the scene.

"The passenger was followed by the taxi driver and two other passersby, and then the four people became involved in an argument, during which one person was allegedly pushed and fell to the ground.

"A 20-year-old Woodbine man was arrested a short time later and taken to Campbelltown Police station and charged with common assault [and] evading a taxi fare."

Gibbs was granted bail to appear in Campbelltown Local Court on August 10.

South Sydney have decided against pursuing former Australia internationals Brett Dallas and Chris McKenna, while Gold Coast yesterday announced Wests Tigers forward Anthony Laffranchi as their new signing.

I just hope that Manly have more than George Rose up their sleeves for replacing Harris, and improving forward depth. However if they are beginning to sort out the finances of the salary cap....... does this mean that we have snared Orford?
Team P W L PD Pts
13 10 3 97 24
14 10 4 118 22
14 10 4 78 22
13 8 5 66 20
14 8 6 143 18
13 7 6 81 18
13 7 6 -55 18
14 7 6 42 17
14 7 7 37 16
15 8 7 -8 16
14 7 7 -50 16
14 6 7 13 15
14 6 8 -55 14
13 4 9 -126 12
14 4 10 -121 10
13 3 10 -129 10
13 3 10 -131 10
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