According to NRL legends Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns there could be a number of the league’s best young players finding new homes at the end of the year.
Penrith pair Charlie Staines and Matt Burton are both out of contract at the end of the 2020 season, however both Johns and Fittler have differing opinions about who stays at the Panthers.
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“I don’t think he’ll (Staines) stay, I think he’ll move. I think he’ll end up at the Bulldogs.” Johns said on Nine’s Wide World of Sports.
However, Fittler believes that Staines’ spot in the team is safe, but at comes at the expense of someone else.
— NRL (@NRL) August 1, 2020
“I think they’ve got a future for him, I think Burton’s the one that’ll move on, Matt Burton,” Fittler said.
“I think he (Staines) will be fullback.”
Fox Sports reported that the Panthers have tabled an offer to Staines, which would lock him away at Penrith until 2023.
Meanwhile at Sydney, Lachie Lam is considering his options after a frustrating season at the Roosters.
The 22-year old has only played three matches this year and 10 games in total since making his debut last year. Johns said that he has a future somewhere else.
“The games I’ve seen him play, I’ve been really impressed with his toughness and his defence, Lachie Lam. I think he needs to go somewhere (else) to be their marquee No. 7,” he said.
“He (Lam) wants to play halfback. They’ve (Sydney) played him in dummy-half, but they have Sam Verrills coming through, he’ll be their long-time dummy-half after Jake Friend.”
Fittler agreed with the call, believing that Lam’s opportunity to lock down a spot at the Roosters has passed him by.
“It’s interesting how Lachie Lam had the run during the year and he got syndesmosis, he had an ankle injury, that was a bit of a hurdle for him,” he said.
“Do you feel like Kyle Flanagan’s worked too well? Like the fact that Kyle and the Roosters has worked very well, they’ve lost very few games together.”
Manly winger Albert Hopoate is another that could be on the move, with his father, former Manly great John Hopoate, tipping that he could seek a better deal elsewhere.
“If you’ve got a player like that, a local junior, you don’t let him go.” Johns said.
“He’s a good player.” Fittler said after being startled by the news that Hopoate, who Fittler coached as a NSW under-16, remained unsigned by the Sea Eagles.
Albert Hopoate WOW!
— NRL (@NRL) July 13, 2017