Manly have eye on a Tiger, Dogs release Reimis
Manly have identified Wests Tigers forward Josh Aloiai as a potential replacement for representative prop Addin Fonua-Blake, who suddenly quit the club at season's end.
Aloiai, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Wednesday, is off-contract at the end of 2021 but is now free to negotiate with rival clubs for 2022.
It is understood the Sea Eagles have started discussions with Aloiai and have him at the top of their list as they look at bolstering their front-row stocks after Fonua-Blake cut his contract short to join the Warriors.
While discussions have centred around 2022, the Sea Eagles could accommodate Aloiai as early as next season. Aloiai just completed the first year of a new two year deal inked last year and has represented Samoa in two Tests.
He has made 90 appearances for the Tigers since making his first grade debut in 2016.
The Sea Eagles have also expressed an interest in bringing Aloiai's teammate Luke Garner back to the club.
Aloiai headlines a host of players now free to negotiate with rivals at the Tigers including form winger David Nofoaluma. Shawn Blore, Michael Chee-Kam, Jacob Liddle, Thomas Mikaele, Zane Musgrove, Josh Reynolds and Billy Walters.
MELBOURNE have signed Canterbury outside back Reimis Smith on a two-year-deal. The Bulldogs agreed to release the Smith from the final year of his contract and the 23-year-old old will link up with the premiers this month.
The move won't have any ramifications if the Storm keep winger Josh Addo-Carr. Melbourne are considering Smith, who has scored 25 tries from 49 games, as a centre option. The Storm also signed George Jennings as they look to cover for the uncertainty surrounding Addo-Carr and the departure of Suli Vunivalu to rugby.
Smith made his debut in 2016. What it does do for the Bulldogs though is free up some salary cap space as they look to continue to bolster their squad having been among the most active clubs in the pre-season.
They have a surplus of outside backs including new recruit Nick Cotric, Jake Averillo, Christian Crichton, Will Hopoate, Nick Meaney, Jayden Okunbor and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
SOUTH Sydney have given Wayne Bennett the green light to stay on as Queensland coach next year. Bennett took on the Maroons position at short notice but given it was at the end of the season it did not impact his role at the Rabbitohs.
The veteran mentor will lead South Sydney for the final season next year and the club remain open to him keeping his Queensland position should he want to stay on.
"Once the series is complete and the scheduling for next season is understood, we'll sit down with Wayne to see whether he has the appetite to coach Queensland again," Rabbitohs boss Blake Solly said. "If he does want to and Queensland want him to we can work with the board and the coaching staff to put in a plan that allows him to coach Queensland and minimise any disruption at the Rabbitohs."
Coach-in-waiting Jason Demetriou would easily step up in Bennett's absence.
NEW Warriors coach Nathan Brown is nearing the end of a two-week isolation block before he starts his new job on Monday.
Brown will be released from hotel quarantine in Auckland on Sunday and will hit the training paddock the next day when a range of the Warriors youngsters hit the field.
"I've been quite fortunate," Brown said. "I have a balcony and a good sized room with a rower and weights with plenty of things to do from a work perspective. I have a good routine going."
The rest of the Warriors' squad will return later this month in split groups. Brown will oversee the Auckland based players while the likes of new recruits including Kane Evans, Euan Aitken, Addin Fonua-Blake plus Wayde Egan, Peta Hiku and Kodi Nikorima will be part of a contingent training in Kiama.
THE return of night racing at Canterbury on Friday night will boast a Covid-reduced capacity of 4000 fans on course.
Star Sydney jockey Tommy Berry said night racing over the late spring and summer months at Canterbury is becoming increasingly popular with industry participants and punters.
"All the jockeys enjoy riding at the Canterbury Friday night meetings because there are always good crowds and a great atmosphere on the track,'' Berry said.
"My wife, Sharnee, and our children go to more Canterbury night meetings than any other raceday during the year because it is so family-friendly with plenty of things for the kids to do.''
PLAYERS have been given some much needed good news with the bubble to be burst as some teams return to training on Monday. Clubs have been told if COVID-19 infection rates remain low, players and staff will not have to re-enter the bubble before Christmas. It will be re-evaluated every fortnight.
Originally published as Manly have eye on a Tiger, Dogs release Reimis