The player market is as busy as ever with clubs looking to make immediate changes to their roster while it’s still early in the season.
Jackson Hastings is rumoured to be quitting Wigan in the Super League as the Wests Tigers look for a fix to their halves.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin has his eye on Sharks forward Andrew Fifita and the club has reportedly believes a Fifita move could benefit both parties.
Meanwhile, the manager of South Sydney star, Adam Reynolds has made an admission about the No. 7’s future — and Bunnies fans won’t like it.
Read on for the latest Transfer Whispers.
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TIGERS EYE HASTINGS
Wigan playmaker Jackson Hastings is reportedly being courted by the Wests Tigers as the club looks for solutions to fix their static attack.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Hastings is being courted by the Tigers in a bid to decrease the pressure on underperforming $900,000 halfback Luke Brooks.
The Tigers are said to have met with Hastings’ manager on Thursday and want to deploy him as a ballplaying lock.
Hastings has been in England since 2018, helping Salford reach their first Super League grand final before moving to Wigan.
He also won four Great Britain caps during the disastrous 2019 tour of New Zealand.
DRAGONS’ FIFITA CHASE A WIN-WIN FOR SHARKS
St George Illawarra’s chase for out of favour Sharks prop Andrew Fifita has ramped up with NRL.com reporting that the Dragons have identified an area of Cronulla’s roster that needs more depth — something they could do if the club had some cash freed up.
It comes off the back of The Australian’s Brent Read reporting that the Dragons have “genuine interest” in Fifita earlier this week.
Utility back Connor Tracey has been named in Jesse Ramien’s centre spot for Cronulla’s clash with Parramatta on Saturday. Ramien is sidelined through a suspension and last week’s replacement Mawene Hiroti has dropped back to the reserves after he was hooked in last week’s game.
Tracey has filled in at centre off the bench but has never spent a full NRL game there.
According to NRL.com, the Dragons see this as the perfect opportunity to float their Fifita intentions to their rivals, with the argument that a deal could benefit both parties.
The Red V want more depth in their middle forwards and coach Anthony Griffin has already briefly chatted to Fifita — who has spent the opening rounds in reserve grade — while the Sharks could use the money freed up by the Fifita move to invest in some outside backs.
NRL.com reports Fifita has told Dragons players that he is interested in playing with them. However there some hurdles to overcome first, mainly Fifita’s hefty salary.
The 31-year-old is contracted to the Sharks until the end of 2022 on around $800,000 per season. The Dragons would need to foot half of the bill for next season ($400,000) and half of this season’s remaining salary if they were to bring him over immediately. With almost five months of this season’s salary already paid, that would be around $465,000.
Read said on Tuesday that St George Illawarra were “certainly watching the situation” and are keen “if they can make a deal work.”
Fifita’s Sharks teammate Matt Moylan said the former NSW Origin and Kangaroos forward is working on improving his game because “he really just wants to play first grade” while Dragons skipper Ben Hunt backed his club’s chase.
“I definitely think he could play a role. I think he would be a good asset for the team,” he told SEN 1170.
“He brings something different to our team that we don’t really have a lot. He is obviously really big, he has got a good offload in his game and he is a pretty mobile big boy so I think he would be an asset for any team.”
REYNOLDS’ MANAGER ‘CAN’T SEE’ HIM STAYING AT THE BUNNIES
Adam Reynolds’ future is looking more and more likely to be at a new club with his manager telling News Corp he “can’t see” the gun halfback staying at the Rabbitohs unless they up the length of their offer.
The 30-year-old’s contract expires at the end of this season. He is seeking a two or three-year deal but South Sydney, at this stage, have only offered a one-year extension.
Reynolds’ manager, Steve Gillis commented on the situation for the first time — and it’s tough reading for Bunnies fans.
“Unless things change and Souths reassess their position, I don’t envisage Adam will be there in 2022. Unless Souths are prepared to move, I can’t see him there,” he told News Corp.
“Adam would love to stay but Souths run the risk of losing him – that is reality which is drawing closer every day if Souths stall on a second year. Souths have stuck firm on their position since the get-go and that’s fine.
“I would assume Souths have weighed this up carefully before making their decision to offer a one-year contract.”
The Rabbitohs have argued that they being more mindful of re-signing players in the final years of their career on multi-year deals after they were stung by the retirements of Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis.
However, not only has coach Wayne Bennett publicly urged the club to increase the offer to two-years, but fans have started an online petition in Reynolds’ favour. The last time the Bunnies faithful did that, the club backflipped on it’s decision not to re-sign Alex Johnston.
The Broncos, Titans, Cowboys, Wests Tigers and Sharks are said to be watching the situation with Gillis remaining confident that if the Rabbitohs don’t budge, Reynolds will be snapped up quickly elsewhere.
“Understandably, Adam is determined to secure a longer term deal. He has a wife and four young children and wants the security of knowing where he will be from a longer term point of view,” he said.
“I will continue to explore all options for him and I am sure there will be plenty of interest in him after clubs have had a chance to assess their rosters and look to the future.
“The market will surge in about four-to-six weeks’ time and I anticipate there will be plenty of interest in his services.
“He’s premiership winner, an Origin representative, a captain and a leading point scorer and you can add to that he has the best kicking game in the NRL.”
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WARRIORS BOUND ROOKIE REQUESTS RELEASE FROM BRONCOS
Just in case it didn’t hurt the Broncos enough when young gun fullback Reece Walsh signed with the Warriors, the 18-year-old is itching to make the move immediately.
NRL.com reports Walsh has requested a release from the final year of his development contract with the Broncos to join the Warriors this season.
It comes after the Warriors locked him in on a three-year deal starting from 2022 as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s replacement.
According to NRL.com, the Broncos are willing to grant the release — but only if they receive a player in return.
The Warriors are said to be considering it, given it would allow Walsh to learn off Tuivasa-Sheck before the star No. 1 switches to rugby union next year.
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RACE FOR YOUNG BRONCO HEATS UP
While the Broncos will lose one future star, they’re not giving up on another with coach Kevin Walters offering back-rower Brendan Piakura a multi-year deal — one that he hopes is enough to keep the 18-year-old at Red Hill.
Fox Sports’ James Hooper reported the deal is worth $1.2 million over three years.
It keeps the Broncos very much in the race against the Bulldogs and Titans for Piakura’s signature.
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