NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo’s Penrith Panthers contract includes surprise clause | Sport Confidential

Cameron Ciraldo looks set to remain at Penrith, but that doesn’t mean the Tigers have given up on recruiting from the club.

Wests Tigers are expected to make a play for Penrith’s Charlie Staines. Staines has been on the outer at the Panthers having lost his first grade squad to impressive youngster Taylan May. A natural fullback, he has only played one of his 32 top grade games at the back.

The Tigers view him as a potential long-term fullback option with Staines still having a year to run on his contract. He impressed on his Test debut for Samoa playing at fullback.

Despite falling out of the top side, Staines said he remained committed to the Panthers.

“That’s footy, I’m getting a run in (NSW) Cup,” Staines said. “I’m still loving footy. I’m trying to play my best footy.

“I’m very happy at Penrith. I’m contracted there until the end of next year but I’m happy at the moment. Whatever happens, happens.”

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Charlie Staines (left) could be on the move. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images
Charlie Staines (left) could be on the move. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

RIVAL CLUBS CIRCLE TAPINE

Canberra are facing a fight to keep star prop Joseph Tapine after it emerged as many as seven clubs had expressed an interest in signing the in-form front rower on November 1.

Tapine has been one of the best for the Raiders this season but will enter the final year of his deal from November, meaning he is free to sign with rivals for the 2024 season.

Tapine’s manager Jim Banaghan said he had been inundated by clubs expressing an interest in recruiting the 28-year-old.

Joseph Tapine is in demand. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images
Joseph Tapine is in demand. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

“Every club has been ringing me saying they want to talk to me,” Banaghan said.

“They’re coming from everywhere. We haven’t once gone to the market. They are chasing me. I can understand why. This year he has been wonderful.

“He’s no trouble, He has grown into a real leader.”

Canberra chief executive Donnie Furner has already held preliminary talks with Banaghan and is confident the club will get a deal done.

Tapine has spent seven years at the Raiders after moving from Newcastle at the end of 2015. He has also played 11 Tests for New Zealand and captained the Maori All Stars to a 16-10 win over the Indigenous All Stars in February.

Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo is set to recommit to the Panthers in a deal that keeps the door ajar for him to join another club before the start of next season.

Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher has held talks with Ciraldo this week and is increasingly confident he will sign a one-year extension after turning down the opportunity to take over as head coach at the Wests Tigers.

He appears certain to do the same at Canterbury, where head of football Phil Gould has targeted him to replace the axed Trent Barrett.

The Panthers want Ciraldo to sign a one-year extension to remain as Ivan Cleary’s right-hand man, although they acknowledge he will still be in demand.

In-demand Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo. Picture: NRL Photos
In-demand Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo. Picture: NRL Photos

Central to any deal will be an acknowledgment that Ciraldo will be targeted by other clubs and as such, Penrith will cater for his potential departure should he accept a head coach position before next season begins.

However, there will also be an agreement that should he start the pre-season by Cleary’s side, he must finish the year.

It means his deal is expected to mirror that of a playing contract where it runs from November 1 until the end of October.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are considering handing interim Mick Potter a 12-month deal with the potential of landing Ciraldo for 2024.

The Bulldogs and Ciraldo have discussed the role but like the Tigers they seem to have missed out on their man at least in the short-term.

A lighthearted look at the week that was in the NRL with artist Scott ‘Boo’ Bailey.
A lighthearted look at the week that was in the NRL with artist Scott ‘Boo’ Bailey.

PONGA’S CONCUSSION CLOCK

Kalyn Ponga’s Origin fate will rest with a specialist appointment on Monday. Ponga was ruled out of Newcastle’s clash against the Titans on Friday after picking up a head knock in Origin I.

The bunker ruled Ponga had suffered a category one concussion and because of the short turnaround for the Knights he was unable to take the field for his club side.

It is understood Ponga passed his assessments in the Queensland dressing room but the bunker’s intervention has left him sidelined at least in the short-term.

He will meet with a specialist because it was his second concussion in three week. The medical expert will decide his Origin fate on Monday.

Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien was left frustrated by the process of the bunker making a call instead of the sideline medical experts.

“The frustration is the people that are actually talking to him and doing the assessment don’t get the final decision,” O’Brien said. “We’ll send him off to the specialists and make sure everything’s right, but he’s in there and I had a chat – he seems pretty good.”

O’Brien’s sentiments echoed comments made by Wayne Bennett earlier in the week.

“Once the players been taken off the ground I can’t believe the bunker can still be ruling when you have a whole series of tests and other things to go through,” Bennett said on ABC Sport.

Parramatta Eels prop Junior Paulo with the mural of himself at his junior club, Cabramatta Leagues Club. Taubmans are donating a series of footy club rescue packages, which includes the delivery of people and paint to make clubs look fresher. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Parramatta Eels prop Junior Paulo with the mural of himself at his junior club, Cabramatta Leagues Club. Taubmans are donating a series of footy club rescue packages, which includes the delivery of people and paint to make clubs look fresher. Picture: Jonathan Ng

PAULO’S JUNIOR HONOUR

Junior Paulo was “emotional” as he posed for photos with a freshly painted mural at his junior club Cabramatta this week.

Paulo was taken aback when he was told of the mural which was painted by Taubmans.

“It was a bit emotional thinking about all the memories rushing back from when I was a kid out on the field,” Paulo said. “It means a lot to give back to the club that means so much to me. I looked back to all those years ago when I was running around I never imagined there would be a mural of myself at the junior club that I grew up playing for.

“It was surreal to go back and see the young kids running around like I was. I reassured them that their dreams are achievable.”

WARRIORS RE-SIGN FORMER ROOSTER

Freddy Lussick has continued to resurrect his career at the Warriors after securing a two-year contract extension with the club. The Warriors threw Lussick a lifeline when he was unable to crack a spot with the Roosters earlier this year. He has impressed so much in his three games that the club have handed him a new deal.

The 21-year-old is viewed as a solid understudy to incumbent Wayde Egan.

Kasey Badger (right) will appear in the bunker this weekend. Picture: John Feder
Kasey Badger (right) will appear in the bunker this weekend. Picture: John Feder

BADGER IN THE BUNKER

THE bunker will welcome its first official female in charge with Kasey Badger on debut this weekend.

Badger will lead the bunker for the Warriors and Tigers match on Sunday. She has spent the past few months training for the position and sat in the hot seat during the two under-19 Origin matches last week.

KNIGHT ON THE OUTER

Veteran Newcastle forward Sauaso Sue is expected to join English Super League club Hull KR next season. Sue, 30, will follow Knights assistant coach Willie Peters to Hull at season’s end which could draw to a close his 10 season NRL career.

Peters has also signed Newcastle fullback Tex Hoy. Sue has played 169 top grade games after making his debut at the Tigers.

GAL’S SPICY BET OFFER FOR HODGES

Former Blues skipper Paul Gallen has laid down the challenge to Queenslander Justin Hodges vowing to smash him and Ben Hannant on the same night.

Gallen has issued an Origin challenge to Hodges after the fiery Maroons legend called out the NSW great after he beat Hannant by an unanimous decision on Wednesday night.

The pair could now square off before the end of the year in a bout which would renew interstate hostilities.

Gallen told Sport Confidential he would be open to the bout.

“I’ll fight him any day of the week,” Gallen said.

“He brought Origin into it now so let’s have a bet.

“If NSW win the series then we fight in NSW but if Queensland win I’ll go up to two-head town and bash him up there.”

Paul Gallen and Justin Hodges went head to head in the Origin arena many times. Picture: Gregg Porteous
Paul Gallen and Justin Hodges went head to head in the Origin arena many times. Picture: Gregg Porteous

Hodges baited Gallen in the ring on Wednesday when he said “Queenslander’s want me to knock out the dirty cockroach.”

“I know Gallen is more experienced than me, but I don’t give a shit,” Hodges said.

“I don’t know how long it will last but I will have a crack and if I get him, he will be asleep, so let’s go.”

The ex-Broncos skipper has long craved a fight with either Gallen or Barry Hall.

His win against Hannant was less than convincing but it took the 40-year-old’s record to four wins and one loss.

His only defeat came at the hands of Darcy Lussick in 2019 – who Gallen beat last December.

As for Hannant? Gallen said; “If they want to throw me some extra coin I’ll fight Hannant on the same night.”

Gallen is yet to announce who he will fight next after losing an Australian heavyweight title bout to Kris Terzievski last month.

DIFFERENT TALE FROM TIGER TOWN

Returning Wests Tigers playmaker Adam Doueihi says the coaches box is a fair bit different given the change in the club.

Doueihi first sat alongside Michael Maguire and then Brett Kimmorley during his debut game while the Tigers five-eighth was sidelined. He said there was certainly a different vibe.

“It was a little bit calmer than Madge,” Doueihi said of Maguire. “He is a passionate character like me. I’m guessing that’s how I would be if I was in charge. I’d be giving messages left, right and centre. Noddy (Kimmorley) was calm. We had Robbie Farah in there – he was the passionate one. Noddy was telling him to calm down.”

UNION ‘INTERROGATES’ NRL’S ACCOUNTS

The players union and the NRL will meet next week in an attempt to thrash out a deal over historical payments related to the Covid crisis.

The NRL has already agreed to return $30 million to the players after they were forced to take pay cuts over the past three years.

However, the Rugby League Players Association is continuing to “interrogate” the NRL’s accounts dating back to 2020 as they seek any additional money that may be owed to the players.

The argy-bargy over historical payments has prevented the parties making any genuine progress on the salary cap for next season and beyond, frustrating clubs and players alike.

DRAGON SET TO DEPART

Josh McGuire is set to follow ex-teammates Paul Vaughan and Matt Dufty to Warrington next season. McGuire has all but made up his mind that this year will be his last in the NRL. The former Maroons mainstay will play out the season with St George Illawarra. Vaughan and Dufty were announced by Warrington as new signings last month.

ORMSBY’S A LIV ONE

Wade Ormsby has flown the Australian flag at the latest event on Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed LIV Tour. Ormsby is captain of the Punch GC and chose three of his compatriots in the latest LIV draft. Ormsby’s team will also include Matt Jones, Blake Windred and Jediah Morgan.

The only other Australian in the field – Travis Smyth – was selected by Graeme McDowell.

Originally published as NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo’s Penrith Panthers contract includes surprise clause | Sport Confidential

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