Jason Saab a no-show at St George Illawarra Dragons training as he deals with personal issues

Saab, who lives in the western Sydney suburb of Greystanes, has told the club he is struggling with the commute from his family home to Wollongong each day. The Dragons have been told the ordeal surrounding his future has impacted on his wellbeing.

The Dragons understand his predicament and had been willing to release him to a western Sydney club that would absolve him of the problem he now finds himself in.

The Dragons winger could be in Manly colours in 2021.Credit:Anna Warr

However, St George Illawarra officials are privately bemused by the situation that has unfolded given that the commute required from Greystanes to Manly’s training base in Narrabeen is similar, if not more time-consuming, than the trip to Wollongong.

While Wollongong is almost double the distance from Greystanes than Narrabeen, the commute from Greystanes to the northern beaches often takes up to two hours in morning traffic, while Wollongong is about an hour and 20 minutes drive.

The Dragons are refusing to budge until they get an outcome that suits their roster, ending a recent attempt at a swap deal for Manly’s Reuben Garrick.

The Dragons have turned their attention to a player at another club, potentially in another position, and could be closing in on a deal that would free Saab to join Des Hasler at the Sea Eagles.

Josh Aloiai is looking for the exit doors.

Josh Aloiai is looking for the exit doors.Credit:NRL Photos

Fed-up Wests Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe has called a meeting with NRL officials to discuss the role of managers in the game, having been frustrated by recent negotiations involving Josh Addo-Carr, who is also managed by Tartak, and Aloiai.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys told The Herald in August that the NRL would be looking into the current system, which allows players to walk out on contracts to receive more money elsewhere.

The Commission is expected to be presented with a proposal from NRL salary cap auditor and chief financial officer Richard Gardham over the off-season that will address one of the biggest blights on the game.

The NRL is considering banning clubs from offering more money than the players stand to earn in their existing contracts.

“There will be a complete review in the off season,” V’landys said. “I can assure you we will be addressing the frustrations of the fans.”

In other transfer news:

  • The Parramatta Eels have told Blake Ferguson he will not be at the club beyond the end of next season, opting against extending the contract of the former NSW winger. The Eels aren’t actively forcing Ferguson out of the club, but nor would they stand in his way should he land an extended deal at a rival club, opening the door for a potential play at Josh Mansour.
  • The Wests Tigers are willing to offer Mansour, who has been told he won’t start next year in first grade, a contract for 2021 and 2022. The winger is holding out for another year on top.
  • The Bulldogs’ hopes of Penrith releasing Matt Burton in 2021 appear slim. The Panthers are making plans to play Burton at centre next year pending Brent Naden’s rehabilitation from alcohol-related issues. Canterbury are one of several teams, including Cronulla and Melbourne, hopeful of finding out Burton’s long-term future within the next week.
  • The Wests Tigers are considering offering James Roberts a one-year deal on $150,000 with strict conditions, similar to the one-strike agreement he had with South Sydney.
  • The Eels have receeived approval from the NRL Integrity Unit to sign Bryce Cartwright. The NRL wanted to make sure everything was above board with his departure from the Titans before the Eels could announce the $130,000 deal.
  • Stephen Crichton will meet with the Panthers in the next few weeks to discuss the fallout from the handshake agreement gone wrong. Crichton’s manager will argue he is worth more than the $1.5 million, three-year deal that was agreed upon mid-season. He is expected to remain at Penrith but on a more lucrative deal.


  • Josh Aloiai has been ordered back to training on November 30 despite mocking club chairman Lee Hagipantelis. The Tigers won’t release him until there is an advantageous outcome for the club.
  • Penrith fullback Daine Laurie has agreed to a two-year deal with the Wests Tigers from 2022. His manager, Matt Desira, is expected to request an early release to play first grade with the Tigers in 2021.

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Kalgoorlie mayor not sorry to community for council’s NAIDOC no-show

The mayor of a regional city in Western Australia has refused to apologise to the Indigenous community for missing NAIDOC Week celebrations attended by State Treasurer Ben Wyatt.

The incident made the front page of the local newspaper, with Labor MP Kyle McGinn expressing disappointment that, when the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder was called on stage, no one stepped up.

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler said, although it was “embarrassing” and he had apologised to Mr Wyatt in an email, felt no need to do so to the community, including Indigenous families there on the day.

“I got an invite [and] I couldn’t go,” Cr Bowler said.

“[Normally I would] just flick that invitation through to my 12 councillors and ask them to attend.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder mayor John Bowler says it was an embarrassing mistake but refused to apologise.(ABC Goldfields: Jasmine Bamford)

In addition to council supporting NAIDOC celebrations financially, Mr Bowler said he and other councillors did attend other events over the week.

“Anything the NAIDOC committee has asked for we’ve given them,” he said.

“We’ve spent more than $20,000 helping NAIDOC.”

Former Western Australian of the Year, Mark Bin Bakar, also known as Mary G, travelled from the Kimberley to MC the ceremony in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

He said the mayor and council’s absence at the event was sad and disappointing.

“He [Mr Bowler] should do the right thing in terms of community unity and the theme of NAIDOC Week,” he said.

“An apology is a simple healing gesture.

“It’s sad that he won’t step up and be a gentleman, be a community leader, and rise above it all to say ‘look, I’m sorry’.

‘We missed an opportunity’

Earlier this year when Reconciliation Week was forgotten by the Shire of Esperance, its president Ian Mickel apologised.

“We’ve obviously missed an opportunity and I apologise to the Aboriginal people in the community,” Mr Mickel said in March.

Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Gail Reynolds-Adamson said Mr Mickel’s apology mattered greatly and it helped set a path forward for council to be more inclusive of Indigenous people.

“When Ian acknowledged that it was an oversight and they apologised, it allowed us to work closer with Ian, their new CEO Shane [Burge] and council,” she said.

“These types of events should be on any calendar.

“NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week should be a part of the calendar for our local shires.”

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Where’s Wilson? Wallaby rookie a no-show for training and team photo

A Wallabies spokesperson said Wilson didn’t get a good night’s sleep, with team management deciding it was best to let him rest and rehydrate.

It is believed Wilson is recovering from a stomach bug.

Wilson will be eager to run out at Eden Park in his preferred jersey of No.8, having switched to the back of the scrum from No.6.

Captain Michael Hooper said he wanted more of the same from Wilson after an excellent first-up performance on the international arena.


“He had a really good physical presence and some nice finesse in his carries down the edge there,” Hooper said. “He was physical through the middle and his defence [was good]. More of the same from him.”

If Wilson was a late scratching, the Wallabies could bring Pete Samu back into the No.8 spot after starting there in Sunday’s 16-16 draw.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks have called in centre Peter Umaga-Jensen as cover for Rieko Ioane, who has a hamstring issue.

Ioane was dropped to the bench after bombing a certain try on the weekend and his inclusion in the side will be confirmed on game day.

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