Sport Confidential: Morgan Harper’s Talakai nightmare, Richard Fa’aoso’s shocking DV charges

Manly’s Morgan Harper has opened up on the permanent damage done when he was torched by Siosifa Talakai, NRL premiership winner to face court, and more in Sport Confidential.

Morgan Harper says his performance against the Sharks which saw him hooked at halftime “never goes away”.

Harper made his return to first grade last week after spending a week in reserve grade following his first half capitulation against Siosifa Talakai.

“It was a pretty poor performance,” Harper said. “Footy doesn’t always go to the plan. I had to go back and play NSW Cup and try and work on some of my tackles. I needed to get the body back. I lost a couple of kilograms because of Covid. I’m slowly getting it back which is important so I don’t get thrown around.

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Morgan Harper was torched by his opposite number Siosifa Talakai. Picture: NRL Photos
Morgan Harper was torched by his opposite number Siosifa Talakai. Picture: NRL Photos

Morgan Harper was torched by his opposite number. Picture: NRL

“I’m lucky I have a close support network. They helped me through it. It never goes away, you just learn to do deal with it. I’ve learnt what I’ve learnt from it. There is no point looking back. Dwelling gets you no where.”

Harper found out on game day that he would be starting for the Sea Eagles against the Tigers last week. He has been overlooked for selection this week as the Sea Eagles play the Broncos.

NRL BAD BOY’S SHOCKING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES

Premiership winner Richard Fa’aoso is in court on Friday after being charged with a string of domestic violence offences.

The 38-year-old is due to face Campbelltown Local Court after being charged with; destroy or damage property (domestic violence), common assault (domestic violence) and stalk/intimidate intend fear physical harm (domestic). His hearing will commence on Friday.

Richard Fa’aoso (R) tangles with Dallas Johnson (L).
Richard Fa’aoso (R) tangles with Dallas Johnson (L).

Fa’aoso was a rugby league nomad – featuring in 160 top grade games across six stints. He was part of Melbourne’s 2012 premiership winning side even though he only played six matches for the club.

His career looked to have been cut short by a serious neck injury in 2013 when doctors told him he had to walk away from the game.

The Tongan international tried to make a comeback with the Eels a year later but the NRL would not register his contract. He did make it back on the field in 2015 playing five games before retiring.

Milf’s magic return binned

Newcastle tried and failed in a bid to have Anthony Milford cleared to play for the club this weekend to play against Canterbury.

Confidential can reveal that Knights chief executive Phil Gardner sent an email to the NRL late on Friday asking whether Milford could have one week shaved off his ban so his suspension would match that of Melbourne prop Tui Kamikamica.

The NRL rejected the request, meaning Milford will be forced to wait until round 11 to make his comeback, coincidentally against his former club Brisbane.

Anthony Milford will have to wait another week to make his Knights debut. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty
Anthony Milford will have to wait another week to make his Knights debut. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty

An NRL spokesman confirmed the governing body had rejected the application based on Milford’s circumstances being different to Kamikamica.

Kamikamica, meanwhile, is available for the Storm and was named in an extended squad for their blockbuster against Penrith on Saturday.

Exiled NRL star’s shock return

James Segeyaro is inching closer to an NRL return after being handed a contract by the Sea Eagles in a move which could see him play first grade as early as next week.

Segeyaro has not played in the top grade since a 13 game stint ended with Brisbane in 2019. It is understood he has landed a train-and-trial contract with Manly that will allow him to be eligible for first grade in just two weeks.

The $1000-a-week deal is for the rest of the season after the PNG international impressed for Manly’s feeder-club Blacktown Workers where he has switched between halfback and hooker.

James Segeyaro in action for Manly’s feeder club, Blacktown Workers. Picture: NRL Photos
James Segeyaro in action for Manly’s feeder club, Blacktown Workers. Picture: NRL Photos

He will provide much needed cover for Sea Eagles regular rake Lachlan Croker with Manly struggling for depth at hooker.

If the 31-yeear-old does get the chance to add to his 154 game tally, it would be remarkable comeback considering he spent 20 months sidelined after testing positive to a banned substance after using a housemate’s blender.

Clubs are able to pick players from outside their top 30 without NRL approval from round 11, meaning Segeyaro is free to be selected as early as next when the Sea Eagles take on the Eels.

Lachlan Croker has been Manly’s starting hooker this season. Picture: Getty
Lachlan Croker has been Manly’s starting hooker this season. Picture: Getty

The Sea Eagles brought Segeyaro in as extra cover after Karl Lawton was suspended for four weeks for a dangerous throw.

Sidelined hooker Manase Fainu is back in court on May 27. Fainu has been stood down under the NRL’s no-fault policy since 2019 after he was charged for allegedly stabbing someone.

Fainu was set to be Manly’s long-term hooker before the incident.

‘Queeeeeenslander’

The son of Queensland legend Billy Moore has found his way to the Brisbane Broncos. About five weeks ago, Broncos scouts turned up to watch an under 13 game between Maroochydore and Caboolture.

Their target was a centre for Caboolture. Moore takes up the story.

“I said to them if you’re going to sign anyone, you should look at that centre for Caboolture,” Moore said.

“They said back to me, ‘is the No.13 for Maroochydore your son?’. Do you mind if we put him in the squad as well? So it was quite fortuitous.

“He’s better looking than his dad, more intelligent, and has a big motor. Unlike his dad, he also has an offload.”

First look at SFS Indigenous seats

This is the first view of the Indigenous pattern for seating at the new SFS. Confidential spies were able to get a sneak peak of the venue as it begins to take shape. The seat design was created by award-winning Indigenous artist Tony Albert. The theme is “Two Worlds Colliding – Water and Land” and tells a story about place and country.

The Indigenous-inspired seat pattern at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Indigenous-inspired seat pattern at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Souths’ new flying ‘Johnstone’?

South Sydney have taken an interest in Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone as they look to bolster their outside backs for next season.

Johnstone, a try scoring machine in the English Super League, has flirted with the NRL in the past and it is understood the Rabbitohs are among the clubs monitoring the situation.

His potential defection to the NRL comes as English powerbrokers descend on Magic Round in search of signings for next season.

Canterbury duo Paul Vaughan and Matt Dufty headline a hit-list of NRL stars who will be in their sights over the weekend. Warrington are the front-runners to land Dufty. Confidential understands that Warrington chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick and England coach Shaun Wane, who works for Super League powerhouse Wigan, are among the key English officials who have made the trip to Brisbane for Magic Round.

Vaughan and Dufty are among the high-profile players who are yet to secure deals for next season, making them priority targets for Super League sides.

Manly prop Marty Taupau, former Queensland State of Origin prop Jarrod Wallace, Gold Coast back rower Kevin Proctor, ex-Maroons hit man Josh McGuire and Wests Tigers forward Thomas Mikaele are also expected to attract attention from English clubs.

Confidential understands that McGuire has already held talks with at least three Super League sides but hasn’t ruled out staying in the NRL.

Dolphins lead Aitken fight

The Dolphins have taken the edge over the Wests Tigers in the battle to sign Warriors utility Euan Aitken.

Aitken has been a shining light for the Warriors this year as the former centre continues to impress since his switch into the backrow.

The Dolphins have tabled him a three year deal to be part of their inaugural squad. Aitken had another year left on his Warriors deal but was released for compassionate reasons as the club plans to make the full-time switch to Auckland next year.

Dolphins close in on Euan Aitken signing. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty
Dolphins close in on Euan Aitken signing. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty

The Tigers also expressed an interest in Aitken but weren’t willing to meet his wage demands. It means the Dolphins are in the box seat to land the 26-year-old.

Aitken has played 144 top grade games – including 121 for the Dragons before his switch to the Warriors last year. Aitken’s former club St George Illawarra have ruled out making a play for him.

New York, New York

Manly and Brisbane will meet at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night but the rivalry doesn’t extend to their respective chairs. Broncos boss Karl Morris and Sea Eagles chair Scott Penn caught up for dinner this week in New York, where both were on work assignments.

The pair shared dinner at Dumbo House, a palatial club with views of the New York skyline on the edge of the East River, tucked between Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.

Kodi joins Mad House

Kodi Nikorima is wasting little time getting to know his new South Sydney teammates. Nikorima is the newest roommate at Liam Knight and Jai Arrow’s house.

Nikorima and Arrow played together at the Broncos.

SPOTTED

South Sydney stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker joined Tim Tszyu in Newcastle on Wednesday night.

Mitchell flies to the US on Monday to fast-track his return from a hamstring injury while Tszyu was on a plane on Thursday. Mitchell spent 15 minutes with two fight and footy mad locals who have Cerebral Palsy.

There was also a bad smell in the aftermath of the Paul Gallen and Kris Terzievski fight. Both fighters were so exhausted from going the distance for the Australian and Australasian titles that media were ushered into Gallen’s changeroom to conduct post fight interviews.

Interviews came to an abrupt end when someone let off a stink bomb.

Latrell Mitchell, Tim Tszyu and Cody Walker in Newcastle.
Latrell Mitchell, Tim Tszyu and Cody Walker in Newcastle.

Fletch and Caine a hit

Bryan Fletcher and Joel Caine are kicking goals with the duo’s The Run Home show on SEN now the fifth most downloaded podcast of all Sydney radio shows. That put them just below 2GB Ben Fordham and above the likes of Fitzy & Wippa, Ray Hadley and Triple M Breakfast.

Garner’s tough choice

Penrith-bound Luke Garner said it was a “really hard decision” to quit at the Tigers at seasons end.

Garner will join the defending premiers and reunite with coach Ivan Cleary after signing a two year deal.

“I’ve been at this club for a while now and I love everyone there,” Garner said. “At the end of the day I thought I had to take another opportunity. I’m not thinking about next year too much yet.”

Originally published as Sport Confidential: Morgan Harper’s Talakai nightmare, Richard Fa’aoso’s shocking DV charges