NRL Sport Confidential: NRL’s plans for Kangaroos documentary, Adam Elliot & Millie Boyle transfer news
Canterbury has a fight on their hands to retain the services of lively hooker Jeremy Marshall-King, as three rivals clubs prepare to snatch him for next season.
Jeremy Marshall-King has hit the open market as he considers his long-term playing future. Canterbury’s indifferent start to the season has not stopped rival clubs from circling the Bulldogs hooker.
The Dolphins, Dragons and Warriors have expressed an interest in the 26-year-old who appears on the move at season’s end.
Marshall-King has the upper hand in negotiations given he has an option his way to remain at Canterbury for 2023.
But the impending arrival of Reed Mahoney at Canterbury means Marshall-King is unlikely to want to stay at the club given Mahoney will naturally be the first choice rake. Mahoney can also can get through the 80 minutes.
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The Bulldogs have indicated they would like to keep him but are facing an up-hill battle to retain his services.
A host of clubs have come knocking. Marshall-King’s brother Benji shares a close relationship with Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett while the Warriors are on the lookout to add some cover at hooker for Wayde Egan.
The Dolphins are yet to nail down a first choice hooker opening the door for Marshall-King to become the starting rake in their inaugural season. He also looms as perfect bench utility given his ability to play at hooker or in the halves.
The Dragons depth significantly drops off at the dummy half position after veteran Andrew McCullough. McCullough is in the final year of his deal next season.
Marshall-King has until June 30 to decide if he will remain at the Bulldogs for next season. He has been a mainstay for the Bulldogs since joining the club in 2018.
REVEALED: NRL PREPARES OWN ‘LAST DANCE’
The likes of Mal Meninga, James Tedesco and Nathan Cleary will feature in rugby league’s version of ‘The Last Dance’.
Plans are progressed to follow the lead of the Chicago Bulls smash hit documentary and The Test which followed the Australian cricket team during their Ashes campaign.
It can be revealed the NRL is preparing to film a fly on-the-wall documentary during this year’s World Cup in England, where the Kangaroos will start the tournament as favourites to defend their title.
The Kangaroos will field a new-look side with Tedesco and Daly Cherry-Evans in a battle to captain their country for the first time. The likes of Cleary, Brian To’o and Isaah Yeo will form a new-look side.
A production company headed by Nine Network head Karl Stefanovic had been pushing the NRL to film this year’s State of Origin series but that was quashed after reluctance from Wayne Bennett.
It is understood that proposal has been parked for the moment, but the NRL is ready to do their own documentary during the World Cup.
Despite starting the tournament as heavy favourites, the Kangaroos are last-start losers having been defeated by Tonga in their 2019 match.
LETTER BEHIND PNG BID TO BE NRL’S 18TH TEAM
This is the letter which announced PNG’s bid to become the NRL’s 18th team.
Sport Confidential has obtained the friendly-worded email which was sent to club chief executives on Wednesday afternoon by PNG rugby league chairman Sandis Tsaka.
Tsaka told them that PNG’s prime minister James Marape “will announce the establishment funding” for their bid.
“Our country has undertaken a significant infrastructure upgrade in Port Moresby since hosting the Pacific games, APEC summit and the RLWC,” Tsaka wrote.
“We have a world class stadium and several five star hotels in Port Moresby. This bid will, however, keep an open mind to the bid model and we will be open to all discussions which may involve joint partnership models along with other opportunities that may present itself. We are committed to growing the game and the opportunities for everyone within the NRL to benefit.
“Whilst we have allowed the other rugby code to get a jump on involving the pacific in their elite competition, there is no doubt that a team involving the PNG will far exceed any levels of corporate support, interest and long-term benefits that may be associated with their entry in their competition.”
Tsaka invited club bosses to visit PNG and to reach out if they had any questions.
Ex-Bulldogs boss Andrew Hill is helping PNG’s bid.
NRL GLAMOUR COUPLE IN PACKAGE DEAL TUG OF WAR
Newcastle have made a play to entice Adam Elliott to the club but face stiff competition from the Raiders who not only want to retain the backrower but will potentially offer his partner Millie Boyle a marquee spot should the club be given an NRLW franchise.
Elliott is off-contract at season’s end and the Knights have shown their interest in luring him to the club next season as a replacement for Warriors bound Mitch Barnett.
The Knights inquired about Elliott after he was sacked by the Bulldogs last season but the surprise departure of Barnett has now given them the salary cap space they need to make a play and the Knights are certainly keen on the 27-year-old.
Elliott only joined the Raiders on a one-year deal but the club have been in discussions to keep him long-term. An extra dimension to Elliott’s signature is the potential to attract Boyle to the club. Boyle is a star in her own right having finished the season as joint Dally M winner.
The Raiders will consider offering the Broncos star a deal at the club should they be granted an NRLW franchise.
Canberra put in their submission last month as part of the game’s expansion bid. Boyle has a deep connection with the Raiders after her dad David played 117 top grade games at the club during their golden era in the 1990s. Millie's uncle Jason Croker is also a Raiders legend.
The Knights have an NRLW side of their own but it remains to be seen if they will try sign Elliott and Boyle.
Elliott and Boyle have maintained a long-term relationship since they started dating last season. The pair are often seen at each other’s matches when their schedules permit.
Elliott comes up against the Bulldogs for the first time on Friday night. His 101 game stint at the club was overshadowed by off-field incidents.
Teammate Nick Cotric also play Canterbury for the first time since his unhappy one season stint as a Bulldog.
STAR SEA EAGLE COULD BE FORCED OUT
Manly boss Scott Penn has vowed that the club will do everything in their power to retain Kieran Foran but also conceded for the first time that their efforts to do so may be hampered by the salary cap as the Gold Coast Titans circle.
Foran is off contract at the end of the year and there are fears that he may be squeezed out due to the cap and the potential for young star Josh Schuster to play five-eighth.
The Titans have also weighed in with a two year deal that would see him finish his career in southeast Queensland. Penn insists Foran is a valuable member of the squad and remains part of the club’s plans, but the Sea Eagles appear to be fighting a losing battle.
“We’re massive, massive fans of Kieran and we love having him around,” Penn said from New York.
“I think it is up to Des and the recruitment committee to work out what the roster plans are for 2023 and beyond.
“The most important thing is that we continue to evolve. If Foz can be part of that, fantastic. I think we will do our best to keep him around. I think he is keen to stay and we are keen to keep him. We also have a thing called the salary cap.
“I think that is what everyone is working through.”
The wildcard in the situation is Schuster. Stories recently emerged that he had been promised the chance to play five-eighth, although his teammates insist the 21-year-old has never raised the subject.
“That sort of stuff looks like it is above the playing group,” captain Daly Cherry-Evans said.
“As for Schuey, I haven’t seen him talk about it and that is both to the team or publicly. That suggests he is probably pretty happy where he is.
“Over my couple of years here with Schuey, I have known him as a team-first player.”
Foran returned to Manly on a cut-price deal worth about $500,000 over two seasons, recognising it was the best chance to reinvigorate his career.
The deal made him among the lowest paid halves in the competition. His play this season warrants a pay rise but Manly will struggle to stretch the budget, particularly with the Titans offering an extra year.
Foran is expected to make a call within days and it would be a major shock if he stayed at Manly.
“I really enjoy playing footy with Foz,” Cherry-Evans said.
“We have a very similar outlook in the way we play footy. I am not too sure of the lay of the land moving forward, the cap and stuff. His teammates and the coaching staff love Foz.
“My gut feeling is that he is someone that is going to be wanted beyond this year and I know I want him around a bit longer.”
BARKING GOOD TIME
Aussie boxing prodigy Harry Garside has joined an impressive list of Australian athletes including Olympian Jess Fox, Tim Cahill and Ryan Papenhuyzen as Greyhound Ambassadors.
Garside will be trackside on Saturday night for the running of the TAB Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park with all ticket sale proceeds going to Greyhounds as Pets NSW.
“Greyhound’s are beautiful animals and I jumped at the chance to be able to help out with this fantastic initiative by Tony Mestrov and the team at Greyhound’s NSW” Garside said.
It promises to be a huge night all around with one lucky fan who attends the meet set to also go in the draw to win $1 million on the night.
As for a tip for Saturday night’s big race, Garside likes 101-1 pop Zambidis.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” he said.
Garside is part of a star-studded fight card in Newcastle on Wednesday headlined by Paul Gallen and Nikita Tszyu.
Manny Pacquiao’s quest to become president of the Philippines may prevent him flying to Melbourne to watch George Kambosos defend his world title next month.
Kambosos spent three years of his career as Pacquiao’s chief sparring partner, finetuning his own skills as he sought a world title of his own.
That day has now arrived and there were hopes that Pacquiao, who famously travelled to Brisbane five years ago to fight Jeff Horn, would make the trip to Melbourne to watch his great mate Kambosos.
The stumbling block could be Pacquiao’s bid to run for president – with the national elections to be held this weekend. Pacquaio is considered an outsider to win the presidency, but the outcome is likely to impact on any plans to entice him to Melbourne, where Kambosos will defend his titles against American Devon Haney at Marvel Stadium on May 9.
Tim Sheens says he first asked his player to carry a ball with them at all times ahead of his first season at Penrith in 1984. He did it again while he was coaching premiership heavyweights the Raiders.
The technique was used by South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou last week in a bid to help his team’s completion rate.
“It wasn’t my idea,” Sheens said. “I was doing my level two coaches course in Armidale and they gave all the kids a footy. When I went back I gave all the players a ball. They had to look after it, take it home and carry it around. Instead of me bringing a bag of balls to training they had their own.
“It was a bit of responsibility for them to look after the ball.”
Which representative forward at a high-profile Sydney club was seen in animated discussion with his coach at training earlier this week. The player has been struggling to find his best form this season and appeared at odds with his coach over his role in the side. Stay tuned, things could get interesting.
Who is the high-profile player who is apparently already on the outer at his new club only a matter of months after moving to Sydney to take up a megadeal.
The player has recently changed management and whispers have emerged that his club would be happy for him to move on at the end of the season.
MAGIC ROUND MANIA
The Dragons, Knights and Roosters will remain in camp ahead of next weeks magic round. For Newcastle they will stay in Queensland after playing the Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday. St George Illawarra first travel to Melbourne to play the Storm but won’t return home until after their round 10 clash against the Titans.
Meanwhile, Saturday and three day passes for magic round have sold out ahead of next weeks rugby league festival. Fans can still be part of the action by purchasing single-day tickets for Friday and Sunday, starting from $49 for adults.
“NRL Magic Round Brisbane 2022 is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.
A host of NRL clubs are already circling members of Western Suburbs victorious Harold Matthews side. The Magpies won their first Harold Matthews title when they beat Cronulla last weekend. Already the likes of Luke and Kit Laulilii, Jordan Miller and Tallyn Da Silva have attracted interest from rival teams.
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ANOTHER BRAILEY BROTHER
There is another Brailey in the ranks after Taj – the younger brother of Jayden and Blayke – was picked in the NSW under-18 City team. Taj is also a hooker and is coming through the ranks of Cronulla’s junior program. Zach Fittler – the son of NSW coach Brad – is in the under-16 City team.