Tributes flow for former Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers NRL player killed in crash


Pritchard was one of a host of ex-teammates to post their condolences on social media. He said he was lost for words when he heard the news.

“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now,” the post said. “The Field announcer at the panthers when reading the team list would say at number 9 is the MAYOR OF MOUNTY COUNTY MASADA IOSEFA. #OG

“Tough as nails, always went hard without any preservation for his body. Never took a step back to any situation.”

The Samoan national side described Iosefa as “tough as nails” in a post on the Toa Samoa Facebook page. The post also said Iosefa spent time as a youth worker after his playing days.

“It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of former Toa Samoa representative, Masada Iosefa,” the post said. “Rest in love, Masada. Ia manuia lau malaga.”

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Iosefa continued in the game he loved after the NRL, playing for the Central Queensland Capras in the Intrust Super Cup and then helping Rockhampton Brothers win a premiership in 2020.

Former Tiger Keith Galloway said he was shocked by the news and would never forget his time with Iosefa.

“You were hard as nails, and as rock solid as they come. It’s been a few years, but will always remember you bro! You were one of a kind.”



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NRL 2021: Paul Momirovski, Wests Tigers, reject release request, Michael Maguire


EXCLUSIVE – The Wests Tigers and Paul Momirovski are locked in a dispute that threatens to escalate after the centre had two official release requests turned down by the club.

Foxsports.com.au can reveal that the Tigers are refusing to let Momirovski leave despite informing him he would not be a first-choice centre at Concord.

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The 24-year-old, who has 14 tries in 19 NRL games, has been training at five-eighth during the pre-season and has held three conversations with head coach Michael Maguire about being granted permission to leave.

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Rival clubs are monitoring the situation closely, with Canterbury and Penrith keen on his services.

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Brennan and Tigers ready to attack new season


“We are not going to be everything we want to be overnight but that is the whole fun of it, embracing ups and downs but staying level through them and just knowing they are part of the process,” Brennan said after the Tigers announced her reappointment on Tuesday.

The experienced former Western Bulldog has had little luck in recent years, with suspension forcing her to miss the Dogs’ 2018 flag and injury restricting her to just 17 AFLW games in four seasons.

Her concussion last season saw her confined to a dark room for a short period as she recovered but now, on the eve of a season that starts for Richmond against Adelaide on January 31, Brennan is fit and filled with anticipation.

The 28-year-old said Ferguson has given players the chance to drive the program under his guidance and she is rapt with what the group has been able to develop.

“Over that COVID period [there was] heaps of hard work and commitment and connection and I think it is going to continue to propel us forward for the next challenge in the journey,” Brennan said.

“He [Ferguson] wants us to play a really high pressure, exciting brand of football and he has been great in handing us the reins a little bit to really drive the standard and expectations.”

Those expectations aren’t high externally but with Brennan supported in a leadership group including Hosking, Sabrina Frederick, Cordner, Alana Woodward, Phoebe Monahan and Christina Bernardi, there is enough talent and experience for a better showing.

Brennan plays down her own talent but the key forward is, at her best, as capable of winning games off her own boot as anyone else in the competition. She is more willing to be effusive in her praise of McKenzie.

“She is a going to be a star that girl, she already is a star I am really excited for her,” Brennan said.

“The way she can get in and out of congestion and how she uses the footy, she has got a ripping left foot but she has stepped inside the environment and just thrived so far.”

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NRL 2020: David Nofaluma re-signs with Wests Tigers, Ben Te’o, Broncos, Josh Mansour signs with Rabbitohs, transfer centre, signings tracker


Ben Te’o has signed a new contract with Brisbane for 2021.

The 33-year-old — who has played 138 NRL games — will add crucial experience depth to Brisbane’s pack.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have confirmed star winger David Nofoaluma has re-signed on a four year deal which will see him remain at the club until at least the end of 2025.

It’s a huge boost for the Tigers ahead of the 2021 season after Nofoaluma had a year to remember in 2020 and earned a spot in the Dally M Team of the Year as ell as being named the club’s player of the year.

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Young Tigers need to be pushed: Tamou


James Tamou hasn’t been given the official role as Wests Tigers captain yet but said the young side needs a push to break an NRL finals drought in 2021.

The former Penrith skipper is favourite to be given the reins before round one after making an immediate impact over the pre-season.

And after the Tigers failed to make the finals for the ninth year in a row in 2020, it will take a mighty boost to get the side into the top eight.

“Most of these younger guys will sort of be going through the ebbs and flows but to go to the next level you sometimes need an extra push,” he said on Friday.

“These guys, some of them are stronger than me, quicker than me, this younger generation is just getting better so it’s about letting them build that confidence.”

The Tigers have shed Josh Reynolds, Josh Aloiai, Chris Lawrence and Benji Marshall for this year, meaning the former Australia and NSW prop is easily the most experienced player in the group.

Having won a premiership with North Queensland in 2015 and helping the Panthers to the grand final last season, his knowledge will be essential to the Tigers who are desperate for success.

One such player is David Nofoaluma, who re-signed with the club on Thursday for four years despite interest from rival NRL clubs.

Last season he was named Dally M winger of the year but the 27-year-old is aiming at higher honours.

“I want to go to another level,” he said.

“I have high hopes of playing for NSW, that’s something that’s on the radar this season so I’m just going to keep improving on myself this season and hopefully get that opportunity.”

Tigers coach Michael Maguire changed the backline regularly last season but Nofoaluma is hoping a steady centre partner in James Roberts will give them both their best chance of success.

“I’ve still got to improve on some things but I’m just glad I’m working with the players I’ve got here now,” he said.

“It was a bit hard last year with the players changing around, so there’s a bit of a solid team now where I can work on the combinations with the players around me.

“If I was coming up against myself and Jimmy I’d be a bit worried.”



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How will Richmond Tigers cope after the marriage breakdown of coach Damien Hardwick?


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Although Riewoldt’s description rang true for those at the club on Monday when they saw Hardwick – who despite occasional public outbursts of frustration generally adopts a “never explain, never complain” attitude – bounce in to work ready to go, the effect on the club remains to be seen.

The coach knows what is required of him to do his job well, having admitted after last year’s grand final that his reluctance to accept COVID-19 restrictions affected the team, saying “the reality is if I’m struggling, the players are certainly going to feed off that energy” .

He also understands why some players are shocked at what has happened and appreciates they will need time and raw conversations to adjust to the new light in which some – certainly not all – of his most loyal lieutenants now see him.

But his demeanour allowed most players to maintain a guise that suggested if the personal issues were to have any impact on the club they would be minimal.

They showed in 2020 that they could overcome all manner of distractions, including Hardwick’s internal struggles, defeating Geelong in a hard-fought grand final. Early wins this season will push the very public private matter well into the background because for all the posturing from clubs that’s what matters most.

That doesn’t mean senior people at the club are underestimating what lies ahead as there are very few road maps for how modern, often superficially virtuous, football clubs handle such matters despite the situation being a classic conjunction of events – a very public and long-standing personal relationship breakdown, and the interaction of a senior staff member with a more junior one, albeit in a separate section of the organisation.

Skipper Trent Cotchin and Damien Hardwick lift the 2020 premiership cup.Credit:Getty Images

Richmond may not have couched it in such terms, but the reality is that the senior coach in any club holds more cards than anybody bar the CEO and the president, both who have remained, to this point, silent on the matter publicly.

The club released a statement addressing that power dynamic, saying they were satisfied after examining their human resources policy that they were comfortable in workplace terms with the situation, as marketing executive Alexandra Crow did not report to the coach.

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Beth Gaze, a professor at Melbourne University’s Law School, says it appears from afar that the Tigers have handled the issue appropriately from that perspective.

“One of the concerns organisations have is that if someone has power over somebody else’s career that there may be some favouritism and that can, of course, really poison the workplace and can make relationships difficult,” Gaze said.

“The consequences of [such a relationship] should not rest on the woman or the more junior person and that is why organisations are in a sense saying if you are the senior person then it is your responsibility to make sure you have disclosed this and removed yourself from any control over their career.

“The rest of it is awkward but there is no way you can avoid those emotional consequences.”

Given there is no way of avoiding the emotional fallout, management led by CEO Brendon Gale and president Peggy O’Neal will need to be on their game.

Even though football clubs, generally speaking, get on with the job (Richmond are not the only club dealing this summer with marriage breakdowns or interoffice relationships that not everyone within the office are celebrating), this turn of events has saddened many.

What effect the marriage breakdown will have on those at the club close to the coach and his wife remains unclear; as we have seen, Danielle Hardwick and daughters were embraced by the captain’s wife, Brooke Cotchin, at Christmas.

Adding to the complexity is the fact the Tigers’ extensive network of tight personal bonds – common in AFL clubs but rare in most other workplaces – have been cited as one of the secrets to the Tigers’ recent success with the use of anecdotes and connected stories a key part of the coach’s modus operandi in recent years as he established a tight bond with his players.

The notion of being a “Richmond man” and concepts of mindfulness sat nicely beside Hardwick’s occasional public reference to Mrs Hardwick’s influence on his thinking, words that smoothed his rough edges and endeared him to the public whenever he apologised for overstepping the mark.

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Family and football even intertwined before the 2019 grand final in a moment captured in Konrad Marshall’s book Stronger and Bolder when Hardwick gave each player a rock to write the name of the person they would dedicate their performance to as he argued it would make them more determined to succeed. He then held up a large rock carrying words revealing his own motivation, Danielle and family.

Such public and private expressions from the coach add another layer of complexity to managing the situation.

Despite all that, officials from other clubs share the Tigers’ view that their performance won’t be affected much, with the players’ pride in their performance paramount and the leaders experienced enough to allow Hardwick’s role to be one of alignment.

Many have been through change with Hardwick before as the coach began his career as a command-and-control coach who would stop drills midway to tell players where they should be and the decision they should make.

At that point Hardwick was less about finding time to have a coffee with players and more about using the time to talk about their positioning and what the numbers said about performance. His dress sense was chided, his down-to-earth nature and loyalty to them celebrated, but the emotional rollercoaster he took many at the club on was exhausting.

It wasn’t until the nadir of 2016 that he overcame his controlling instinct to give his best decision-makers licence to play and gave fringe players roles that emphasised their strengths with their pace giving the Tigers numbers around the ball.

He, relaxed, opened himself up to learning and created a game plan that one assistant coach said boiled down to Richmond taking the ball forward under pressure.

They scored off turnover and players such as the skipper led the way in creating a group of low-possession, high-impact players.

The so-called “simple” game plan is now, after four years of refinement, described by one experienced assistant as like an orchestra that makes the difficult coordination of disparate parts seem effortless in their creation of a masterpiece.

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It is a turnaround that has Hardwick on the verge of equalling such coaching greats as Kevin Sheedy, Allan Jeans, Ron Barassi, Tom Hafey, David Parkin and the man he has shared so much with, Alastair Clarkson, with four flags.

Richmond are sticking with the coach, as they have before in trying times, hoping for business as usual.

After such a dramatic 2020 it might seem business as usual but time will tell what the real impact will be in season 2021 with the exhausted Gale telling 3AW pre-Christmas that they will have no option but to get on with it.

“We’ve just got to find a way to recharge and re-energise and renew and we will, because that’s the way our caper rolls,” Gale said.

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David Nofoaluma to remain with Wests Tigers until 2025 after signing new deal


Wests Tigers have tied down popular winger David Nofoaluma for another four years.

Nofoaluma was the club’s best player last season and will now remain at the joint venture until the end of 2025 after signing a four-year contract extension.

David Nofoaluma will now remain at the Wests Tigers until 2025.Credit:Getty Images

The 27-year-old became an instant fan favourite in 2017 when he showed no hesitation re-signing with the club as the ‘Big Four’ – James Tedesco, Aaron Woods, Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses – were all weighing up offers elsewhere.

The Campbelltown junior made it known again late last year he did not want to leave the Tigers, and while the club also viewed him as a one-club player, they were only prepared to table a three-year extension.

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NRL 2021: Benji Marshall linked to Sydney Roosters, Wests Tigers, NRL Transfer whispers, off-season signings


Clubless NRL legend Benji Marshall has been the subject of a link to glamour club the Sydney Roosters.

Nine first reported the Roosters’ apparent interest in signing Marshall to a $150,000 deal.

Since being released by the Tigers, where he famously won a premiership in 2005, Marshall‘s future has been in limbo.

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NRL 2021 transfer news, signings, ins and outs: Tyson Frizell, David Fifita, Tigers, Titans, Bulldogs, Broncos, signings tracker


NRL clubs are back in the full swing of pre-season training. New faces are in new training gear as clubs attempt to finalise their rosters ahead of the season starting in March.

Some clubs such as the Bulldogs, Titans and Tigers have recruited impressively in their bid to make the top eight, while other clubs have gone about their business a bit more quietly or are waiting to splash the cash.

Here, Foxsports.com.au rates NRL club’s recruitment — so far — ahead of the 2021 season.

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AFL 2021: Damien Hardwick split with wife, Richmond Tigers, addresses players, Simon Goodwin split with wife, Melbourne


Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has addressed his players about his new relationship with a club staffer while a rival boss has become the third in recent months to split with his wife.

After previously flagging he would take a break until February, Hardwick returned to Punt Road on Monday as the senior players began their pre-season training regimen.

Hardwick split with his partner Danielle last year and the club has confirmed he has since begun a relationship with a member of Richmond’s administration staff.

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