NRL 2020: Transfer news; Josh Addo-Carr to Bulldogs, signings tracker, Gareth Widdop to Cowboys, Jahrome Hughes, Storm, Warriors


There may be no rugby league on our TV screens but there’s still plenty of action happening in the transfer market.

Storm speedster Josh Addo-Carr has been spotted receiving the royal blue treatment in Belmore, while a rival club is ready to throw the cash at his teammate Jahrome Hughes.

Former Storm and Dragons star, Gareth Widdop could be on his way back to NRL with his management and current Super League club offering up his services.

Read on for the latest Transfer Whispers.

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Player movement rumours, Josh Addo-Carr, Bryce Cartwright, Joe Ofahengaue


The NRL’s off-season is well and truly in full swing, with several major signings either confirmed or in the works.

On Thursday evening, the Parramatta Eels revealed they had secured forward Bryce Cartwright on a one-year deal.

Cartwright made headlines during the coronavirus lockdown for his refusal to accept a flu jab.

As reported by News Corp, Queensland forward Joe Ofahengaue looks destined to join the Wests Tigers on a multi-year deal.

Ofahengaue still had two years left on his contract with the Brisbane Broncos.

Meanwhile, the St George Illawarra Dragons has reportedly allowed young Jason Saab to join the Manly Sea Eagles on a three-year deal.

As revealed by The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis, a player swap was discussed by the two parties, but a financial outcome was the outcome.

Lastly, Melbourne Storm speedster Josh Addo-Carr met with Canterbury Bulldogs officials this week to discuss his future.

He is expected to make the move to Belmore in 2022.





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Matt Burton Bulldogs contract deal, Josh Addo-Carr, Gareth Widdop news


Canterbury has won the battle for rising Panthers star Matt Burton.

In a huge coup for the re-building club, Burton has agreed to a deal with the Bulldogs and has told the Panthers he will leave the club.

The Daily Telegraph first reported Burton’s two-year deal begins in 2022 — and will trigger immediate negotiations surrounding an early release for the 2021 season.

The Panthers confirmed the report on Wednesday, releasing a statement to stress Burton will only leave at the end of the 2021 season.

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Burton was one of the most highly sought-after players in the NRL player market and was chased by Bulldogs new coach Trent Barrett since July.

According to reports last month, the Bulldogs offer to Burton is worth between $400,000 per season and $500,000 per season.

Burton was a revelation for the Panthers this season, but fell outside of the Panthers starting side behind fullback Dylan Edwards, halfback Nathan Cleary and playmaker Jarome Luai.

He will slot straight into the Bulldogs best 17 next year, if able to secure a release from Penrith.

The Panthers have shown no sign of letting the promising talent leave early.

“While we’re disappointed with this outcome, it’s important we respect Matt’s decision,” Panthers general manager of football Matt Cameron said.

“He gave particular consideration to a contract extension at Panthers before opting to continue his career at another club.

“That said, Matt remains fully committed to Panthers for the upcoming season and we’re excited to see what the team will achieve in 2021.”

JOSH ADDO-CARR TOURS BULLDOGS HQ

Storm star Josh Addo-Carr has been spotted touring the Bulldogs just weeks after his grand final backflip to express interest in remaining at the Storm.

The star winger’s contract saga continues to fluctuate, but the Bulldogs appeared to take a big step forward after rolling out the red carpet for him this week, The Sydney Morning Herald first reported.

The Bulldogs hopes of winning the war for his signature has been boosted by reports the club is prepared to take the gamble of moving him to fullback, in a move that would see the Storm star’s contract value soar.

Addo-Carr remains under contract with the Storm for the 2021 season, but would not stand in his way if he chooses to accept a big-money offer in Sydney.

Addo-Carr grew up in western Sydney and has long been floating a return to NSW to be closer to his family.

Having made his debut for the Wests Tigers in 2016 before moving to the Storm, Addo-Carr has reportedly been pursued by his former club, while South Sydney has also reportedly had a nibble at him.

Earlier this month Addo-Carr revealed that he would be happy to stay with the Storm.

“I probably would return,” Addo-Carr said. “I wouldn’t say no to a Melbourne Storm contract. I love that club.

“I’ll definitely miss the Storm, especially all the boys. I’ve got a really good relationship with everyone at the club and I’ll always be a part of that club and have that connection with the club. I’ve got lifelong friends now, so it is a win-win for me.

“For now, I’m looking forward to getting back to Sydney. I’ve made this decision for my family. Everyone knows I wanted to move back, and I’ve been away from them for so long know as well.”

Storm football manager Frank Ponissi has also left the door open for a return.

BIG DOMINOES FALL IN NRL SHUFFLE

Star playmaker Gareth Widdop is reportedly set to sign with the Cowboys in a move that would allow Jake Clifford to make an immediate move to the Knights.

Widdop reportedly has the support of Super League club Warrington to seek a return to the NRL despite being under contract with the club.

The 31-year-old reportedly also won’t be chased by the Dragons, despite the club having first rights on Widdop if he returns to Australia.

The Daily Telegraph reported Widdop’s move would allow Clifford to be granted an early release from North Queensland to move to the Knights for the 2021 season.

Clifford earlier this month signed a two-year deal with the Knights, beginning in 2022.



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Canterbury Bulldogs in secret meeting with Melbourne Storm superstar Josh Addo-Carr


Addo-Carr had initially sought an immediate release from the final year of his Melbourne contract in order to relocate to Sydney for family reasons. However, the parties agreed the 27-year-old would stay put when the premiers weren’t able to find a suitable replacement.

Instead, the man dubbed the Fox has become one of the hottest commodities on the open market for season 2022.

Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr spotted outside Belmore on Tuesday.Credit:Rhett Wyman

Addo-Carr had signed a heads of agreement to join Wests Tigers on a four-year deal had he gained an immediate release. However, that arrangement only applied if he was available for next season, meaning the speedster is free to negotiate with rival clubs. The Tigers are expected to remain in the mix for his services from 2022.

Addo-Carr is considering not only a change of club, but also a change in position. Having cemented his reputation as the game’s best winger, the two-time premiership winner is contemplating a switch to the No.1 jersey. The Matraville Sports High School product played fullback for much of his junior career and believes the experience of watching long-time Melbourne teammate Billy Slater dominate in the position will aid his own transition.

A switch to fullback will also likely result in Addo-Carr commanding more money at the negotiating table.

Josh Addo-Carr was one of the Blues' best in the Origin series.

Josh Addo-Carr was one of the Blues’ best in the Origin series.Credit:Getty

The Bulldogs haven’t settled on a fullback despite rotating Will Hopoate, Nick Meaney and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak through the role. However, they have made two notable additions to their back line in the form of Canberra three-quarter Nick Cotric and Roosters halfback Kyle Flanagan.

Addo-Carr won’t be the only star the Storm struggle to retain long term following another premiership season. As revealed by the Herald earlier this month, the Warriors are attempting to sign Jahrome Hughes. The halfback’s stocks have risen since transitioning from fullback and the Warriors are preparing a long and lucrative deal to lure him across the Tasman.

The Storm is also waiting for an official call from captain Cameron Smith, although he has indicated he won’t remain at the club given there are concerns his presence could impede the pathway of fellow hookers Brandon Smith and Harry Grant.

In other signing news, the Tigers secured Shaun Blore on a new deal that will tie him to the club until at least the end of 2023. The promising forward made his first-grade debut for the club in round 11 and went on to make a further four NRL appearances in his rookie season.

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“I’m so happy to re-sign with Wests Tigers,” Blore said. “The club has given me a shot and they’ve been so good to me and my family throughout that.

“I feel like I owe the club the best I can be and the best I can be for the next few years.

“I love it here – the boys have been really good to me and I’m extremely happy to sign on. The boys have truly made me feel part of the family and that’s definitely part of my decision to re-sign.”

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State of Origin 2020: Josh Addo-Carr, Corey Allan hit, Phil Gus Gould, fastest man on the planet, Queensland defeats NSW


Josh Addo-Carr might not be the fastest man on the planet.

And by the letter of the law Corey Allan’s professional foul on the Blues winger in the 77th minute of NSW’s 20-14 defeat in the Origin decider might not have been a penalty try.

But even the most one-eyed Maroons supporter has to admit Queensland dodged a bullet when Allan took out the Melbourne Storm flyer 15m from the try line.

Replays showed Addo-Carr was clearly in front of Cameron Munster, Valentine Holmes and Harry Grant in the race for the ball, which appeared to bounce nicely, making a clean gather by the NSW man highly likely.

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One man in no doubt was Channel 9’s Phil Gould, who called the moment like a broken record stuck on loop.





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Were NSW Blues robbed a penalty try to Josh Addo-Carr that would’ve taken decider to extra time?


At the end of the game, with NSW challenging a decision after the siren, Addo-Carr approached the referee to voice his frustration.

“That should have been a try mate,” Addo-Carr said. “That should’ve been a try.”

Would he have scored it? Yes. But it wasn’t a penalty try.

Brad Fittler

Fittler said he didn’t think video official Steve Chiddy should have awarded a penalty try.

“Would he have scored it? Yes,” Fittler said. “But it wasn’t a penalty try. Him [Corey Allan] getting sin binned I thought was the best they could get out of it. I’d like to back Fox against anyone in that situation.”

Channel Nine commentator and former Blues coach Phil Gould agreed with the NSW winger during the call, finding it hard to believe that Addo-Carr wouldn’t have beaten Cameron Munster to the ball if Allan hadn’t impeded his run.

“He’d have got there,” Gould said in commentary. “He’s the fastest man on the planet. They weren’t going to catch him. He was well in front of them. They were not going to catch him to the ball.”

Josh Addo-Carr believes he would have scored a try if not for Corey Allan’s intervention.Credit:Getty

The incident came with NSW behind 20-14 with three minutes remaining on the clock. It was part of a mixed night for South Sydney flyer Allan, who set up Valentine Holmes’ first try and should have had another when the Cowboys ace spilled a simple ball late in the second half.

Allan was also guilty of a case of butter fingers early in his Origin debut when he dropped a simple Nathan Cleary bomb inside his own in-goal area, allowing NSW captain James Tedesco to pounce at the feet of a dithering Daly Cherry-Evans.

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Tedesco left the match shortly after when he was concussed after an accidental knee from Josh Papalii. After the game, Munster couldn’t hide his relief.

“It wasn’t obviously ideal with us last week. They were just a better team on the night,” Munster said on Channel Nine. “To come back here to the decider and there’s no better feeling. So thank you, Queensland.

“Full credit to our big boys, they played outstanding this week. Weren’t ideal last week but they stepped up at the biggest moment, and how good’s this crowd? There’s no better feeling putting the Maroon on. You talk to the older blokes. It’s the pinnacle of rugby league.

“Like I said, pinnacle of rugby league, and just so grateful to be playing with such great players. I’m lost for words, guys. First series win without the big boys, and, yeah, the boys done a really great job. Wayne, Mal, the coaching staff, got us up tonight. Let’s celebrate.”

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NRL news: Wests Tigers, Josh Aloiai, Lee Hagipantelis, Josh Addo-Carr


Wests Tigers prop Josh Aloiai demanded an immediate release from his contract with a text message to the club’s CEO on Tuesday.

The bombshell call caught the club off guard with Aloiai having one-year remaining on his current contract with the club.

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Aloiai on a reported $350,000 salary wants out in the hopes of joining Manly, but despite his brutal demands, Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has refused to budge and bit back at the star.

After stating he would “never wear the jersey again”, Hagipantelis is adamant the club will refuse to allow him out of the final year of his contract.

“My initial thoughts are that I’m not impressed,” Hagipantelis said on SEN’s Jimmy Smith Show.

“There’s a contract between the Wests Tigers and the player in question and as far as we’re concerned, the contract will be fulfilled.

“I’m thinking Josh Aloiai will fulfil his contractual obligations, and unless we agree otherwise that’s very unlikely.”

Asked if he felt the Tigers were used “a doormat” by managers aiming to leverage higher salaries at other clubs, Hagipantelis said: “There is that perception, if there is, then those days are over.

“Those who think they can use the Wests Tigers as a stepping stone to advance their own careers should think again. We are not there for that purpose.

“Those who engage with us, especially those bound by contract are there to fulfil their obligations and we won’t expect anything less.”

media_cameraNot so fast, Aloiai.

Hagipantelis took things a step further when he said if Aloiai didn’t want to put the jersey back on, they’d find things for him to do in the final year.

“He is either a Wests Tiger or he is mowing the lawns at Leichhardt or Campbelltown or painting the change rooms at Concord — as long as he fulfils his contract,” Hagipantelis told Fox Sports.

Shortly after the report was published, Aloiai delivered a shot back at the comments with a since deleted post on his personal Instagram page which showed him pushing a lawn mower with the caption “I’ll make sure it’s a super fast track boys”.

Aloiai hits back at club chairman
media_cameraAloiai hits back at club chairman

The news of Aloiai wanting out comes just days after Josh Addo-Carr backflipped on a blockbuster switch to leave the Melbourne Storm and join the Tigers.

“His manager Mario Tartak sat before [Tigers CEO] Justin Pascoe and myself and told us that in no uncertain terms that Josh was committed to fulfilling the heads of agreement he signed,” Hagipantelis said.

“He signed that heads of agreement knowing full well that Michael Maguire was the coach, and the only reason he wasn’t coming to the Wests Tigers was because Melbourne Storm wouldn’t release him.

“The narrative that Josh Addo-Carr didn’t come to the Wests Tigers because of Michael Maguire flies in the face of all objective fact.”

Originally published as Disgruntled NRL star’s Instagram insult



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Wests Tigers, Josh Aloiai, Lee Hagipantelis, Josh Addo-Carr


Wests Tigers prop Josh Aloiai demanded an immediate release from his contract with a text message to the club’s CEO on Tuesday.

The bombshell call caught the club off guard with Aloiai having one-year remaining on his current contract with the club.

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Aloiai on a reported $350,000 salary wants out in the hopes of joining Manly, but despite his brutal demands, Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has refused to budge and bit back at the star.

After stating he would “never wear the jersey again”, Hagipantelis is adamant the club will refuse to allow him out of the final year of his contract.

“My initial thoughts are that I’m not impressed,” Hagipantelis said on SEN’s Jimmy Smith Show.

“There’s a contract between the Wests Tigers and the player in question and as far as we’re concerned, the contract will be fulfilled.

“I’m thinking Josh Aloiai will fulfil his contractual obligations, and unless we agree otherwise that’s very unlikely.”

Asked if he felt the Tigers were used “a doormat” by managers aiming to leverage higher salaries at other clubs, Hagipantelis said: “There is that perception, if there is, then those days are over.

“Those who think they can use the Wests Tigers as a stepping stone to advance their own careers should think again. We are not there for that purpose.

“Those who engage with us, especially those bound by contract are there to fulfil their obligations and we won’t expect anything less.”

Hagipantelis took things a step further when he said if Aloiai didn’t want to put the jersey back on, they’d find things for him to do in the final year.

“He is either a Wests Tiger or he is mowing the lawns at Leichhardt or Campbelltown or painting the change rooms at Concord — as long as he fulfils his contract,” Hagipantelis told Fox Sports.

Shortly after the report was published, Aloiai delivered a shot back at the comments with a since deleted post on his personal Instagram page which showed him pushing a lawn mower with the caption “I’ll make sure it’s a super fast track boys”.

The news of Aloiai wanting out comes just days after Josh Addo-Carr backflipped on a blockbuster switch to leave the Melbourne Storm and join the Tigers.

“His manager Mario Tartak sat before [Tigers CEO] Justin Pascoe and myself and told us that in no uncertain terms that Josh was committed to fulfilling the heads of agreement he signed,” Hagipantelis said.

“He signed that heads of agreement knowing full well that Michael Maguire was the coach, and the only reason he wasn’t coming to the Wests Tigers was because Melbourne Storm wouldn’t release him.

“The narrative that Josh Addo-Carr didn’t come to the Wests Tigers because of Michael Maguire flies in the face of all objective fact.”



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State of Origin teams, 2020, game 3: Xavier Coates, Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster injury, NSW Blues, Queensland Maroons


Queensland young gun Xavier Coates sat out training on Sunday but the camp has not confirmed the reason.

Coates scored a thrilling superman try in game two at ANZ Stadium and he is named to line up on the right wing again for the series decider on Wednesday.

The teenage flyer wore sneakers during Sunday’s field session and did light training away from the main group.

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Wests Tigers interested in James Roberts after missing out on Josh Addo-Carr


The Tigers have wasted no time in seeking a marquee addition to their back line and have begun talks with Roberts. As revealed by the Herald last month, the former NSW three-quarter is a free agent after South Sydney released him from the final year of his contract on compassionate grounds.

The Rabbitohs already have a surfeit of outside backs with injured duo Latrell Mitchell and Braidon Burns to bolster a roster already boasting outside backs Dane Gagai, Campbell Graham, Alex Johnston, Corey Allan, Jaxson Paulo and Steven Marsters next year. Allan has also been given permission to explore his options despite being contracted, with the Broncos among the clubs considering the form fullback.

James Roberts was in a secret meeting with Tigers officials.

Roberts managed only 18 NRL appearances in two years in his second stint at South Sydney as injuries and off-field issues conspired against him. The former Titans, Broncos and Panthers back hasn’t played since South Sydney’s round-six loss to Newcastle in July.

At his best, the man dubbed ‘Jimmy the Jet’ is one of the most electrifying stars in the game, a speedster who took out Dally M centre of the year honours in 2015.

However, he struggled with life in isolation during the COVID-19 lockdown, missing the structure and camaraderie that training provides. The Kempsey product, who checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic this year for anxiety and depression, believes he is ready to again deal with the demands of professional football.

The Tigers are seeking to add strike to their back line and believe Roberts could be a bargain buy if he can recapture something akin to his best form. The club is also in the mix for the services of Penrith playmaker Matt Burton, although rivals including Canterbury and Melbourne are also circling.

Former South Sydney Rabbitohs centre James Roberts meets with Wests Tigers officials Adam Hartigan and Justin Pascoe to discuss his playing future.

Former South Sydney Rabbitohs centre James Roberts meets with Wests Tigers officials Adam Hartigan and Justin Pascoe to discuss his playing future.

The Tigers also haven’t given up hope of luring Addo-Carr for 2022, although the heads of agreement only applied if he was shifting there immediately. ‘The Fox’ is widely regarded as the game’s best winger but has expressed a desire to shift into the No.1 jersey and earn the ‘fullback money’ that comes with the move.

The Tigers had inserted a clause in their initial deal that dictated how much Addo-Carr would be paid based on which position he plays. If he played more than half a season at fullback, he would be paid a salary commensurate with the role. The unique clause, believed to be the first of its kind, is likely to feature in any future negotiations between the parties.

Should Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith retire as expected, some of the money the club saves could be used to upgrade Addo-Carr’s reported $375,000 salary for next year.

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