2022-05-19 06:05:00

Bulldogs enforcer Tevita Pangai Junior has told Canterbury-Bankstown teammates he remains committed to his three-year contract at Belmore despite the threat of a major overhaul of the blue and white roster.

That hasn’t stopped supercoach Wayne Bennett picking up the phone to check Pangai’s pulse about his erratic form.

Pangai Junior told some of his Canterbury-Bankstown teammates Wayne called him after the Bulldogs Magic Round loss to Newcastle.

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With his tongue planted firmly in cheek – Bennett apparently told Pangai Junior “surely they don’t want to keep you after that performance”.

Pangai Junior and Bennett share a close rapport dating back to when Bennett was at the Broncos and Pangai Junior left the Canberra Raiders to link with the seven-time premiership-winner at Red Hill.

In fairness, Pangai Junior played his best football under Bennett at the Broncos when he was regarded as one of the NRL’s best emerging forwards.

Still at the Bulldogs the club remains confident marquee recruits Reed Mahoney and Viliame Kikau will be at Belmore next season despite the club’s decision to move coach Trent Barrett on.

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The development of teenage flyer Joseph Suaalii at the Sydney Roosters is an example of quality coaching from three-time premiership-winner Trent Robinson.

After a challenging 2021 where the young gun played only five NRL games before a Lisfranc foot injury ended his season, Robinson has played the long game in terms of Suaalii’s development.

Eased back through the NSW Cup, Suaalii has now scored five tries in five NRL appearances this season with the highlight being his aerial leap over Parramatta opposite Haze Perham in Magic Round along with seven tackle busts in the same game.

The rookie flyer’s tough carries coming out of yardage have been equally as impressive as the 18-year-old adjusts to the challenge of playing against seasoned NRL players.

In a coup for the Chooks, Suaalii has already taken up the option in his contract for 2023.

The same can’t be said for NSW State of Origin backrower Angus Crichton who is still in the process of trying to convince the Roosters to register a new two-year deal.

The Chooks are tight for salary cap space following the signing of Brandon Smith for 2023 and are yet to register the Crichton contract with the NRL.

Crichton has told the Roosters he doesn’t want to play for another NRL club but the Chooks have put it back on the backrower to lift his game.


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The Wests Tigers’ video session on the Bulldogs must have made interesting viewing for the club’s newest recruit Brent Naden.

The Tigers were doing video during Naden’s first day at Concord on Wednesday when they started assessing the Bulldogs Magic Round match loss against Newcastle.

Defending on the Bulldogs right edge, the Knights scored tries through winger Edrick Lee and centre Bradman Best down Naden’s channel.

In a bizarre rugby league sliding doors transfer, Naden will now line-up opposite his ex-teammates when the Tigers host Canterbury-Bankstown at Leichhardt Oval on Friday.

The Tigers have got some other major decisions to make in the recruitment space in the form of playmakers Jackson Hastings, Luke Brooks and Adam Doueihi.

All three are off contract at the end of 2023 meaning Tigers director of football Tim Sheens and coach Michael Maguire have some major decisions to make.


The South Sydney Rabbitohs have pinpointed the round 14 match against the Gold Coast Titans as the most likely return date for superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell.

The Bunnies no.1 is currently on a two-week trip to the US for treatment on his injured hamstring after picking up the injury in round five against St George Illawarra.

If Latrell makes it back in time for round 14 it means the gun No.1 will get one game under his belt before NSW pick their side for State of Origin II.

The Bunnies have shown how serious they are about getting their backline strike weapon cherry ripe by outlaying $50,000 to send him to the US for treatment.

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Panthers centre Stephen Crichton is starting to attract serious attention with four rival NRL outfits having registered interest about playing the premiership-winning flyer as a fullback.

The Panthers local junior is free to field offers as of November 1 and the early indications are Penrith will have a fight on their hands to retain the St Clair Comets product.

On a positive note, the Panthers are close to putting the finishing touches on an upgraded deal for another young gun local in Izack Tago.

Tago has cemented his position in the premiers side at left centre and is expected to ink a new extension with the Panthers off the back of forming a new lethal left-edge combination with fellow young gun Taylan May.


It’s not just three-time Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy who’s given the Purple Reign reason to celebrate by confirming a one-year contract extension this week.

Cult figure centre Justin Olam is also set to agree to a new three-year deal with Melbourne until the end of 2025 in another major boost for the club.

A pocket dynamo, Olam is one of the most popular members of the Melbourne Storm playing group and does tremendous work off the field to help promote rugby league in his home country of Papua New Guinea.

The Storm’s next contract focus now is guaranteed to be going all-in to try and make superstar five-eighth Cameron Munster a one club player.

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Source by [graycupnews.com]


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