MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Joe Stimson of the Storm warms up during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on September 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

G’day guys,

Dane here from Clarkey’s NRL Column. For some of you that may sound familiar, but for those wondering who I am & what I do, feel free to read on!

My name is Dane Clarke, I’m a 22 year old working full time in the Royal Australian Navy & pursuing my dream of becoming an NRL reporter. I started this journey four years ago & have amassed a following of over 110,000 followers across social media.

I write daily columns on quite literally everything rugby league. My brand Clarkey’s NRL Column is an official sponsor of the best USARL team, the mighty Brooklyn Kings. I am an official ambassador of Red Star Belgrade Rugby League, the greatest Serbian club!

Every week I will be answering your questions right here on Zero Tackle! If you’d like to ask a question for this weekly column, you can find me across social media @clarkeys.nrl.column

Question 1: If Parramatta were to get rid of the current coach, do you think Souths assistant coach would be a good replacement? – Hopper Clarke

G’day Hopper, the Eels have just re-signed Brad Arthur until the end of 2021 & they’re unlikely to move him on anytime soon. Demetriou is NRL ready & the Wests Tigers considered him this off season before signing Michael Maguire. Tigers veteran Benji Marshall spoke on Demetriou as a coach last year, “He’s one of the best coaches I’ve been under, technically & culture wise.” He has honed with craft under master coach Wayne Bennett since 2017 & seems ready made as an NRL coach.

Question 2: Just wondering if the Raiders are still chasing George Williams? – Rory Palfaman

Hey Rory, they have stopped chasing him, but only because they have signed him. No official announcement has been made by either club however, we have seen this situation before. Neither club announced the signing news of Wigan’s John Bateman last season, despite The Mole having reported it. This situation includes the exact same clubs, the exact same journalist & I’m confident The Mole’s source has this one correct also.

Question 3: Which players are being targeted by Madge for the Tigers? РM.A Bails

Hi mate, they are chasing a quality hooker & a couple outside backs. Both Robbie Farah & Jacob Liddle come off contract & the Tigers have set their sights on Apisai Koroisau from the Manly Sea Eagles. He played at hooker the night Maguire won the premiership with the Rabbitohs in 2014 & the pair share a close bond.

Question 4: Who will the Roosters target with the hole in the salary cap left by Cronk’s retirement? – Archie Cornell

Hello Archie, the current rumour is Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to the Penrith Panthers. This would allow the club to use his salary & a portion of Cronk’s towards signing Broncos star Tevita Pangai junior. A lot of Cronk’s salary will also be used towards upgrading contracts. Matt Ikuvalu, Joseph Manu, Latrell Mitchell & Siasiua Taukeiaho are all off contract within the next two years & all will require a significant upgrade. Sharks halfback Kyle Flanagan is another rumour that keeps popping up. He told me he is determined to build his future around the Sharks, but may be forced to move elsewhere with Johnson, Moylan & Townsend all more experienced options available to the club.

Question 5: Given Roberts has signed with Souths, will Latrell make the move? – Troy Thompson

G’day Troy, I’m ruling this one out as no chance. Latrell recently said he wants to build his legacy away from Greg Inglis & not follow in his footsteps. We will hear a lot about Latrell’s future throughout the media these next two years, but we need to remember two things. No one can officially negotiate with him until November 1st this year. Every single NRL club will be interested in acquiring his services & the media will be throwing darts at the board blindfolded in a hope they land the story.

Question 6: Any news on Dogs signings for next year? – Macca Andrew

What’s up Macca, I’ve heard they have signed Storm back rower Joe Stimson from 2020 onwards. He has been unable to cement his place within the Storm top 17 in 2019, but has his QLD Cup side the Sunshine Coast Falcons flying! They are undefeated in 2019 winning all 11 games so far & Stimson has been a shining light in their side. I was unable to confirm directly whether the signing has gone ahead, but it’s very likely it has.

Question 7: Kevvie to coach the Titans next year? – Garrick McDonald

This is very unlikely in my opinion, Garrick. It would depend largely on this year’s State of Origin result & it must be said, Walters’ side is the underdog at this stage. Further, the Titans cannot afford to risk another unproven coach. Thus far, the signing of Garth Brennan hasn’t gone as planned despite his overwhelming success in NSW Cup. They need to target a world quality coach & throw the bank at him.

Question 8: DWZ to the Cowboys? Any news on Cowboys signings? – Adam Hurst

Hey Adam, Watene-Zelezniak is most likely to sign with the Parramatta Eels at this stage. A move to North Queensland would require his family to move interstate. The only roadblock in the Parra deal is the fact he will play right centre & not his preferred position of fullback. I’m hearing the Cowboys are preparing an all or nothing offer as they are desperate for a world class fullback. Bevan French remains another option to the club, he has not featured in first grade all season & it appears his future at Parramatta is non-existent.

Question 9: Will the Blues have a dominant era over QLD for the next decade or so? – Olly Cash

G’day Olly, on paper & when you look at the NSW Blues depth, it seems likely. However, Origin isn’t played on paper & I truly believe we will never see another era as dominant as the one I was fortunate enough to witness (Go Queensland!).

Question 10: What is the current salary cap situation at the Storm? -Hayden Lindsay

Hi Hayden, it’s not great & it will likely cost them QLD Maroons hopeful Christian Welch. He is off contract at the end of 2019 & unlikely to remain at this stage. He is currently assessing his options in Sydney.

Well, that wraps up the very first “Ask Clarkey.” Hopefully you enjoyed reading some of my work & if you’d like to see more. Follow me on Facebook & Instagram @clarkeys.nrl.column!


  1. Great to see you here back on the site Clarkey! Look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions in the upcoming weeks

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