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Magic_Menzies

Reserve Grader
EXCLUSIVE: As the countdown to the expiration of the NRL anti-tampering deadline draws near, the competition's "most eligible bachelors" are revealed.

By bachelors, let's not understand the Cleo type...

Rather, let's accept them as those players who will be free to prostitute themselves to their suitors of 2006 and beyond - the NRL's off-contract stars.

With the salary cap forcing the hands of potentially big spending clubs who now have a limit attached to their shopping lists; any team from South Sydney to the Roosters stand to be possible winners from the silly season 'meat market' which opens in the matter of hours.

Sure, there has been pre-deadline movement among clubs and player managers, and there has also been the pre-deadline allowances that has seen clubs sign players left, right and centre over the last week - but on July 1, some massive names of the game will be unleashed...the NRL's "most eligible bachelors" of 2005.

SportsNews.com.au editor HAIG KAYSERIAN takes you through the best of the crop...

1) Braith Anasta (Bulldogs)

Very much at the elite level of his game. A current State of Origin representative and marquee capture for any club in need of a consistent five-eighth with an admirable all-round game; from defensive, kicking and passing.
Clubs in need: Bulldogs, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Warriors.
Clubs interested: Rabbitohs.
Rumoured to be interested: Roosters, Sea Eagles.


2) Matt Orford (Storm)

Until the final hours, still tipped to re-sign with Melbourne. However, if unleashed, he can expect a plethora of interest. One of the game's premier halfbacks with the all-round game. A playmaker who has thus far been unlucky not to figure at State level, however someone who always musters a mention.
Clubs in need: Rabbitohs, Raiders, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Storm, Warriors.
Clubs interested: Rabbitohs, Storm.
Rumoured to be interested: Sea Eagles.


3) Steve Bell (Storm)

The rumour is this late bloomer could go as a package deal with Orford. What is fact however, is that whichever club swoops to sign this man; they would be signing the most underrated premier centres in the game. Rarely runs without beating at least one tackle and has a superb tryscoring record at the highest level.
Clubs in need: Knights, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Storm, Tigers.
Clubs interested: Rabbitohs, Storm.
Rumoured to be interested: Sea Eagles, Tigers.


4) Ashley Harrison (Rabbitohs)

One of the top young thinkers of the game, and worth a bundle to any club for pure utility value. The lock forward is a modern day lock forward with a touch of old school about him. Possesses a fantastic running game, an offload, along with nifty tricks like short kicking and gap passing.
Clubs in need: Knights, Rabbitohs, Tigers.
Clubs interested: Rabbitohs.
Rumoured to be interested: Broncos, Cowboys, Gold Coast.


5) Jamaal Lolesi (Bulldogs)

A backliner with tremendous talent but no club. Strong runner, speedster and always maturing is Lolesi. Rumoured to favour a 2007 switch to the Gold Coast, thus unlikely to earn a local contract unless a club can entice him that theirs is the place to be long term.
Clubs in need: Knights, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Storm, Tigers.
Clubs interested: Gold Coast.
Rumoured to be interested: England.


6) Shane Elford (Tigers)

Many might class this man as hardly an "eligible bachelor". One must differ however, especially considering the lack of three-quarters on the market, compared to the need of three-quarters at many clubs. Elford is underrated, solid but also provides flair and consistency out wide. If not re-signed by the Tigers, he will be a wanted entity.
Clubs in need: Knights, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Storm, Tigers.
Clubs interested: Tigers.
Rumoured to be interested: N/A.


7) Shayne Dunley (Sea Eagles)

One of the competition's best exponents of bench impact play. The hooker has impressed at every club he's gone to, but his last two years at Manly has seen him win games for the team through his inspirational flair off the interchange. The Sea Eagles want to keep him, but if released there shouldn't be any shortage of takers.
Clubs in need: Panthers, Rabbitohs, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Sharks.
Clubs interested: Sea Eagles.
Rumoured to be interested: England.


8) Matt Peterson (Eels)

Best of the available wingers. Somebody who is a proven finisher in the NRL and possesses the modern day necessary wing attributes of power, speed and agility that have combined to see him carry defenders to the tryline, run the length of the field and catch the high ball, and all that to great effect. Would prove a solid buy for any team in need.
Clubs in need: Knights, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Storm, Tigers.
Clubs interested: N/A.
Rumoured to be of interest: Sea Eagles.


The above is eight of the best available 2005 NRL bachelors, who will collectively be unleashed into what will be a frenzied marketplace in the matter of hours.

We can gather the Rabbitohs will be the most active team in pursuit of the big names, while the Roosters seem to have prepared for one major acquisition with the recent confirmed departures of Michael Crocker (Storm), Brett Firman (Cowboys) and Jason Cayless (England).

The Sea Eagles are likely to target a 'name' back of some sorts, but can surprise with two signings that will number themselves between 2 and 7 in 2006. The Knights are a team in need of refreshments but money could cause them concern, since their house is just getting itself into order and that can prove too late for the big names to hang around.

The Tigers will make their moves, as will most of the bigger teams as the entire competition aims to secure the talent that will lift their standing further towards the game's elite.

Whatever happens; www.sportsnews.com.au is your source for breaking news.

See you all there and let the games begin!!!
 

Matabele

Journey Man
The cupboard is BLOODY bare isn't it?

I see that Flannery has re-signed with the Rorters too.

I wonder how they're going to afford Anasta?
 

The Wheel

https://membership.seaeagles.com.au/
Premium Member
I think Haig's Maroon and White eye is showing through in that article.
 

Magic_Menzies

Reserve Grader
Haha, I just thought it was funny that ALMOST every player that is their Manly are either in need of or rumoured to be interested. Well, they did get rid of Crocker, which might take a bit off, and Firman, which I don’t think will take HEAPS off. But I don't think they would be able to afford him.
 

The Wheel

https://membership.seaeagles.com.au/
Premium Member
Don't forget Walker, Cayless & Ricko are also going - they would have a bit to spend I reckon
 

ManlyBacker

Winging it
As the countdown to the expiration of the NRL anti-tampering deadline draws near, the competition's \"most eligible bachelors\" are revealed.

By bachelors, let's not understand the Cleo type...

Rather, let's accept them as those players who will be free to prostitute themselves to their suitors of 2006 and beyond - the NRL's off-contract stars.
I thought this was a Mata special the way it started! :D
 

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