GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Jack Bird of the Broncos runs the ball during the NRL Trial match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on March 02, 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The NRL transfer market is in overdrive, with the rumour mill going ballistic in rugby league circles, as some of the game’s biggest stars come off contract.

While names like Latrell Mitchell, David Fifita and Jai Arrow are plastered on national newspaper’s back pages, there’s a host of other players that look set to shift clubs, or are due for a change of scenery. Here’s how the puzzle that is the transfer market can be pieced together, at least for a few stars of the NRL.

PART ONE

Joseph Leilua to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

This move has been rumoured for a while now, with the Raiders keen to move on the Samoan international, who has struggled with discipline and weight issues throughout his career.

At his best, he’s been named a two time Dally M Centre of the Year, and explosively destructive on that right edge. But on his off days, not too much goes ‘BJ’s’ way. He’s lost his partner in crime Jordan Rapana to Japanese Rugby, and with the Canterbury in dire need of a strike centre, Dean Pay has sounded him out.

PART TWO

Curtis Scott to the Canberra Raiders

News broke last week about Ricky Stuart meeting with the Melbourne Storm star last week, and from all reports Sticky was impressed with the Cronulla junior.

Reports floated around that Craig Bellamy was ready to offload Scott, with a few off field discretions, namely the dreaded ‘car park run in’ leading Bellamy to believe Scott did not fit Melbourne’s culture.

PART THREE

Jack Bird to the Melbourne Storm

This is the least likely part of the puzzle. This is more opinion based than the others, but it makes sense. Bird has been far from his best since joining Brisbane, going from a State of Origin Star and premiership winner at the Sharks, to labels of being ‘overweight’ along with a host of injuries seeing Bird fall far from grace.

Releasing Bird would free up cap space for Brisbane to retain David Fifita, or sign another backline superstar (see below). And if anyone can get the absolute best out of an individual, it’s Craig Bellamy. Having already lost Will Chambers to rugby and likely to lose Scott to Canberra, the Storm need someone to partner Justin Olam in the centres. Bird fits the bill perfectly.

PART FOUR

Dane Gagai to the Brisbane Broncos

Gagai started his career at Red Hill before being sacked early on, joining Newcastle, and the rest is history. Arguably Queensland’s best player of the last two series, whilst he plays on the wing in rep footy, Gagai is at home in the centres, where he has been outspoken about playing in club land.

However South Sydney already carrying James Roberts and Braidon Burns, a youngster so highly rated by Bennett it saw him shift Greg Inglis to the right edge, spells a season on the right wing for Gagai. If Brisbane were to release Bird, it would leave them free to recruit Gagai and see him partner Kotoni Staggs in what would be one of the most strike centre pairings in the competition.

PART FIVE

Semi Radradra to the South Sydney Rabbitohs

Reports have begun to surface that Semi Radradra is ready to return to the NRL, and has been informing close friends he wants to return via the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

While the club already has money to spend following the retirement of Sam Burgess* (*pending he’s cleared to medically retire) as well as the departure of favourites George Burgess and John Sutton, releasing Gagai to Brisbane would guarantee money under the cap.

This would leave a backline if Semi and Campbell Graham on the wings, Burns and Roberts in the centres and Alex Johnston at fullback, though rumours have swirled of Johnston’s potential departure, which would open the fullback spot for Adam Doueihi.

Regardless, it would be fantastic to see a player of Radradra’s caliber return to the competition, and if reports ring true, then the flying Fijian isn’t far off.

PART SIX

Latrell Mitchell to the Wests Tigers

This is unrelated to the first five parts, but is looking more and more certain for each passing day.

Whilst Mitchell is contracted by the Roosters for 2020, tension between the centre and his club is growing after Roosters’ powerbroker’s reportedly said Mitchell can ‘play at Norths’ if he wants to be difficult.

The Tigers have prepared a four-year deal worth close to $4 million for Mitchell, with the Kangaroo and New South Wales star set to shift to fullback under Michael Maguire, the man who moved Greg Inglis into the number one jersey.

Whether these moves do come true is yet to be seen, however each piece is looking more and more likely with each passing day, and seems certain to bolster each individual club.

It’s a funny game, rugby league.

4 COMMENTS

  1. We actually don’t have many specialist centres left. Jack Bird would be a really good pick up for Melbourne if the broncos throw in some cash to mate the trade. They just got Brodie Croft so iam thinking bird might be part of that deal??

  2. Chickie…. who ever ends up with Jack Bird will be 100% sorry he is on their books. Big head who has become injury prone.

    I see Mitchell is replicating the same path that Jack Bird took. By chasing the big bucks, he changed the coarse of the successful destiny path he was on after winning a comp with Cronulla. Plenty of regrets now I guarentee. In hindsight he should have stayed where he was. But he like Mitchell can only see the dollar signs.

    But he altered his future by changing clubs. Now he is ranked with around 10 Souths imports as the worst players in the League.

  3. Regarding Alex Jonston & Adam Doueihi – I thought Doueihi was great for Soufths last season, and will only get better in the fullback role. Alex Johnston could be better off going to a club who doesn’t have a decent fullback…..like the Dragons!

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