Former Wests Tigers captain Moses Mbye still unsure about best spot as bench utility switch looms to accommodate Daine Laurie


“We’re working a few things out at the minute and trying to see what fits best for our team,” Mbye said. “You watch those guys on the weekend, I feel like an older fella trying to match it with the younger fellas now.

“I’ve been trying to work out where I want to play and where I’m best suited for a large part of my career. I still haven’t worked it out.

‘I’ve had a really good pre-season, the best I’ve had in a long time. I feel fit and have got myself in really good shape.’

Moses Mbye

“Daine showed some really good form and we’re without Doueihi so I could possibly find myself at six [in round one] and going forward I could even find myself at 14 and making that my role. The game has changed a bit too and we don’t really know what we’re going to get with the rule changes.”

Mbye has primarily played at fullback and centre during his Tigers stint but has even been used at hooker, such is his versatility.

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But it was his breakthrough in the State of Origin arena as a bench utility which could pave the way for a new phase of his NRL career, particularly with the forecast increased speed of the game this season.

“You never know until you get there, but I see it as a really important role,” Mbye said. “It’s hard to say [if I’ll be there]. Madge keeps his cards pretty close to his chest, but time will tell and we’ll find out then.

“To be honest I’ve had a really good pre-season, the best I’ve had in a long time. I feel fit and have got myself in really good shape.”

Mbye has missed the opening round in the last two years with minor injuries and still has a year to run on his lucrative deal with the Tigers after this season.

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Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers agree on player swap between Paul Momirovski and Daine Laurie


“Daine is clearly an exceptional talent and we’re very excited to see him take the next steps in his rugby league career in a Wests Tigers jersey.”

A loan again: Paul Momirovski, who was on loan at the Storm in 2020, has been shifted again by the Tigers.Credit:Getty Images

The move caps a turbulent two years for Momirovski, who played 11 games for the Tigers during the 2019 season before being part of the NRL’s first ever loan deal when he headed to Melbourne last season. State of Origin hooker Harry Grant joined the Tigers in return and was a revelation in his first full season of NRL.

Momirovski wasn’t guaranteed a starting centre position at the Tigers with James Roberts joining Joey Leilua at the club.

What the team achieved last season shows how much talent there is at the club. It’s great to know I’ll be part of it for the next two years

Paul Momirovski

“I’m excited to be joining Panthers and can’t wait to start training with the guys,” Momirovski said. “What the team achieved last season shows how much talent there is at the club. It’s great to know I’ll be part of it for the next two years.

“For now I’m focused on working hard at training to continually improve and set myself up to play some consistent footy for the club.”

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The Panthers are still trying to re-sign grand final players Stephen Crichton, Jarome Luai and Isaah Yeo before the start of the season having already lost the experienced James Tamou, Josh Mansour and Zane Tetevano since last year’s defeat to Melbourne in the decider.

Tamou is firming as a captaincy candidate for the Tigers.

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Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley challenges David Fifita to produce his ‘dynamic’ best in All Stars clash


Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley has challenged Gold Coast enforcer David Fifita to lead from the front against a formidable Maori pack that includes the Bromwich brothers, James Fisher-Harris, and Nelson Asofa-Solomona in the NRL All Stars clash later this month.

All eyes in the league world will be on Townsville on February 20 when the indigenous All Stars tackle the Maori All Stars at Country Bank Stadium.

The Maoris have assembled some of the NRL’s most fearsome forwards, so Daley knows Fifita must be at his barnstorming best for the indigenous boys to win.

The 20-year-old Keebra Park State High School product was below his finest last season at Brisbane due to injury as the Broncos finished with the dreaded wooden spoon.

But fuelled by Fifita’s fresh start at the Titans, Daley is expecting big things from a player described as the NRL’s most promising talent.

“I’m really looking forward to working with David as he is one of the most dynamic backrowers in the game,” Daley said.
“Looking at the Maori forwards it’s going to be a big job to contain them, so we need all our forwards to contribute and work hard for one another.”

Daley has coached some of league’s greatest players, especially during his stint as NSW Blues Origin coach between 2013 and 2017.

As good as the likes of Paul Gallen, Jarryd Hayne and Robbie Farah were at their best, he believes there is something special about Fifita.

It’s why he is happy to have the Maroons enforcer on his side when his indigenous All Stars meet the Maori All Stars.

“David is quick and has great footwork and gets himself in good positions to utilise his running game,” he said.
“I am sure he is excited to be a part of this game again and show Titans supporters what type of player they have on their hands.”

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Tiger Tamou eager to re-unite with Laurie before 2021 kick-off


But the Panthers and Tigers have been in regular dialogue and are committed to getting the best outcome for both clubs.

“Daine is more than ready, he showed last year he was ready when he debuted,” Tamou told the Herald. “I hate bringing up last year because I’m, a Tiger now, but Daine used to throw himself into everything and was such a competitor.

Daine Laurie is keen to quit Penrith and link with the Wests Tigers early.Credit:Getty Images

“If he was in the second team, their game day was always going up against the first team and getting them ready to play. He stood out because he wanted to compete, and that’s something we want here – players to compete on every play and to make your own luck. He’s always competing and deceptively fast and strong.”

Adam Doueihi was tried as fullback last year but has made the move to No. 6, while Laurie’s arrival would also give coach Michael Maguire the chance to utilise Moses Mbye as a utility.

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The Tigers’ captaincy is yet to be announced, but Tamou, last year’s Penrith skipper, has plenty of support internally to take over from Mbye – and the prop spoke about the joy he gets from leading his teammates into battle. His speech after the Panthers’ grand final loss has not been forgotten by key figures at the joint venture.

“Coming into a new side is always hard and you have to earn their trust first,” Tamou said. “I’ve told ‘Madge’ [Maguire] there are some good leaders here, I’ll go with the flow and see where he goes with it.

“I’d be more than happy to do it. Being a leader has made me accountable for my own game – it’s something I enjoy and it’s a challenge I enjoy.

“It’s one of those things where you fall in love with the team, you fall in love with the boys, you want to take the first hit-up for the team, and you want to lead them.

“Once upon a time I was a player who only concentrated on how I played. Now I want the team to do well and win, and I don’t care if I’m on the field or off it. That’s just maturity.”

While Tamou rated Joe Ofahengaue as a standout in the gym, he found it impossible to not single out praise for fellow front-rower Zane Musgrove.

“He’s a big man and he loves the physicality,” Tamou said. “He loves the game and the boys, he wants to do his part for the team, and that rubs off on the team.”

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees hitting coach Rachel Balkovec, who is is town working with the Sydney Blue Sox, visited Tigers training where she was keen to meet Maguire after learning about his tough no-nonsense approach to coaching.

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NRL 2020 Transfer news: Matt Burton to Bulldogs, Penrith Panthers, Stephen Crichton, Daine Laurie to Tigers, Jarome Luai


It is no secret that the foundation of Penrith’s premiership charge has been built off a nursery of local talent.

Along with the Brisbane Broncos, the Panthers are responsible for producing the most current NRL players in the competition.

Built not bought is the mantra used by the club, featuring prominently in a video where Penrith reflected on the path to the 2020 finals series and the potential premiership beyond.

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Round 1
Matt Burton is off to the Bulldogs. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images



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Johns back at Knights, Tigers get Laurie


Newcastle will have a Johns in their NRL squad again with Matthew’s son Jack returning to the club on a development deal.

Just weeks after being let go by South Sydney, Jack Johns has penned a two-year deal with the club his father Matthew and uncle Andrew made famous.

The lock played under-20s for the Knights in 2017, before moving to the Rabbitohs and making his NRL debut this year.

“Jack has developed both physically and as a footballer, while being a much different shape to Matty and Andrew,” Knights GM Danny Buderus said.

“His transition into a ball-playing middle forward with good footwork will provide a skillset which adds to the depth of our squad.”

Souths also released Bayley Sironen on Friday, with the son of Balmain great Paul headed to the Warriors on a 23-year deal.

Elsewhere, Wests Tigers continued their signing spree by locking in Penrith young gun Daine Laurie on a two-year deal from 2022.

The highly-rated fullback debuted for the Panthers this year and is a major coup for the Tigers at age 21.

It’s believed there is still some chance Laurie could end up at the Tigers next year, however that would only come if the Panthers made a decision to release him early.

It comes just a day after the Tigers secured South Sydney centre James Roberts for next season, while Panthers winger Josh Mansour also remains unsigned.

Meanwhile Korbin Sims is on the way out of St George Illawarra after taking up a two-year deal with Hull KR in the English Super League.

The Dragons confirmed on Friday morning that they had released the 28-year-old, who still had another year to run on his NRL contract.

Sims arrived at the Saints at the start of 2019 from Brisbane as part of a new beefed-up pack, with 120 games to his name and Fiji Test experience.

But he managed just 21 games amid injury and form concerns, including only five in 2020 where he began the season with a broken arm and ended it dropped.

The Dragons also confirmed the re-signing of forward Kaide Ellis, after he joined the club midway through the year from Penrith.

And former Melbourne representative prop Tim Glasby will return to the Storm as a recruitment officer.

Glasby was forced into retirement earlier this year after his move to Newcastle due to concussions.





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