SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Blake Ferguson watches on during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin captain's run at ANZ Stadium on June 20, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

While the battle for the 2017 Telstra Premiership trophy continues, clubs have one eye focused on building their roster for the 2018 season. With a stack of talent still to be signed up, which off-contract star does your club need for next year?

Brisbane Broncos – Kurt Mann

The possible departure of Tautau Moga to Newcastle coupled with Corey Oates’ potential move to the second-row, Kurt Mann’s versatility would be invaluable in Red Hill.  The young star is blessed with the ability to play fullback, centre, wing and even in the halves. Mann could even claim the Bronco’s bench utility role with Kodi Nikorima moving to halfback in 2018.

Mann could even claim the Bronco’s bench utility role with Kodi Nikorima moving to halfback in 2018.

Canberra Raiders – Brenton Lawrence

After a stellar 2016 season, Canberra has struggled at times this season, with impact on the bench a major issue. While Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo do an excellent job laying the platform early on, they need someone to inject some energy into the side when those men take a break. Blessed with speed for a big man, Brenton Lawrence has returned to form in 2017 and could really punish opposition teams at around the 30th-minute mark of a match.

Blessed with speed for a big man, Brenton Lawrence has returned to form in 2017 and could really punish opposition teams at around the 30th-minute mark of a match.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs – Michael Gordon

The Bulldogs have been nothing short of disappointing this year. Their halves have been unorganised, their backline has lacked strike, the service from dummy half has been sloppy, and as a whole, the team has been erratic. The signings of Kieran Foran, Aaron Woods and Fa’amanu Brown will steady the ship, but they need another calming influence. Enter Michael Gordon. The custodian has been a rock at the back for the Roosters and would allow Will Hopoate to move to the centres, adding more strike to the backline.

Enter Michael Gordon. The custodian has been a rock at the back for the Roosters and would allow Will Hopoate to move to the centres, adding more strike to the backline.

Cronulla Sharks – Aaron Gray

The South Sydney youngster has struggled with injury over the course of his first-grade career, but given a chance, Gray could prove to be an x-factor in the backline. Despite spending the majority of his career on the wing, Gray is a natural centre and would be the perfect replacement for Jack Bird at right centre. And if the reports are correct, Cronulla are close to securing their man.

And if the reports are correct, Cronulla are close to securing their man.

Gold Coast Titans – Ryan Hoffman

The veteran backrower has been told that he’s surplus to requirements for the New Zealand Warriors in 2018, allowing the premiership winner to look elsewhere to finish his career. Having played over 300 NRL games, Hoffman’s experience would prove invaluable to a young Titan’s team. The departure of Chris McQueen to Concord opens up a spot in the forward pack, and Hoffman would do a wonderful job on the left edge protecting Kane Elgey.

The departure of Chris McQueen to Concord opens up a spot in the forward pack, and Hoffman would do a wonderful job on the left edge protecting Kane Elgey.

Manly Sea Eagles – Tim Grant

Manly have proved the doubters wrong this year, a sudden resurgence of form has put the Sea Eagles in top four calculations. Despite all of this, one problem that the side has faced is depth, particularly in the forwards.  Lanky backrower Shaun has been forced to play prop in the Intrust Super Premiership this year, but Tim Grant could help the team. Told by the Tigers he won’t be re-signed for next season, Grant would slot in nicely to the Manly pack, especially following reports Brenton Lawrence will depart the club at season’s end.

SEE ALSO:  Three Rooster prospects re-sign

Told by the Tigers he won’t be re-signed for next season, Grant would slot in nicely to the Manly pack, especially following reports Brenton Lawrence will depart the club at season’s end.

Melbourne Storm – Joel Edwards

Granted, Melbourne Storm doesn’t need much more than what they’ve already got. Billy Slater out? Cameron Munster. Cooper Cronk gone? Brodie Croft. Cameron Smith rested? Brandon Smith. But Melbourne has a reputation for getting the best of their props. Joel Edwards can play prop,

But Melbourne has a reputation for getting the best of their props. Joel Edwards can play prop, backrow or lock, and his high work rate would be perfect for the Storm. With Tohu Harris leaving the club, Edwards would be a more than capable replacement.

Newcastle Knights – Nelson Asofa-Solomona 

Believe it or not, Newcastle have a better side on paper than you’d think. Ponga at fullback, Ross and Sio on the wings, Mata’utia and possibly Moga in the centres, the side seems strong. Especially the backrow, with Jamie Buhrer, Mitch Barnett, Aiden Guerra and Sione Mata’utia their strongest spot. But prop is a different situation, with Daniel Saifiti their go-to-man in the front-row. Asofa-Solomona would change all this and give the Knights some much needed go forward as they look to lift off the bottom of the ladder.

Asofa-Solomona would change all this and give the Knights some much needed go forward as they look to lift off the bottom of the ladder.

New Zealand Warriors – Adam Blair

Consistently inconsistent. It’s probably the best way to describe the hot and cold New Zealand outfit. Kieran Foran helped steady the ship a little, but his departure leaves an all too familiar hole in the side. Incoming recruit Tohu Harris will help fill the hole, but Kiwi captain Adam Blair would definitely go a long way to lifting the side. While Blair is a big fan of coach Wayne Bennett, the chance to end his career in his homeland could sway Blair into making a change.

While Blair is a big fan of coach Wayne Bennett, the chance to end his career in his homeland could sway Blair into making a change.

North Queensland Cowboys – Mose Masoe

The hulking prop hasn’t played an NRL match since Round 26, 2013 following a Super League stint before back-to-back knee reconstructions marred his comeback at St. George Illawarra. But with doubts over the future of Matt Scott,

But with doubts over the future of Matt Scott, Masoe could prove a very effective low-cost option for the Cowboys. With Scott Bolton another year older, what’s there to lose?

Parramatta Eels – Michael Lichaa

Parramatta has one of the most underrated sides in the competition. Their halves, the front row, the only piece missing from this puzzle is a quality hooker. They regrettably let go of Origin hooker Nathan Peats following their salary cap dramas., and fill-in hooker Kaysa Pritchard’s season has been ended following a knee injury last weekend. With back-ups Isaac De Gois and Jeff Robson set to hang up the boots at season’s end, Lichaa would be an admirable pick-up for the building Eels side.

With back-ups Isaac De Gois and Jeff Robson set to hang up the boots at season’s end, Lichaa would be an admirable pick-up for the building Eels side.

SEE ALSO:  Roosters leading nine-club race to sign young prodigy

Penrith Panthers – Dylan Phythian

Penrith has arguably the most complete roster of the competition. A combination of star recruits and local juniors, Penrith have built an impressive side. Peter Wallace however, is an ageing man. While his form has been superb at hooker, his age will limit his future to the coming years. Mitch Rein is expected to move into the starting hooker role when he retires, meaning Penrith will need a back-up hooker. Phythian can play anywhere in the spine, and after debuting last year as a hooker, but would be a safe purchase for Penrith.

Mitch Rein is expected to move into the starting hooker role when he retires, meaning Penrith will need a back-up hooker. Phythian can play anywhere in the spine, and after debuting last year as a hooker, but would be a safe purchase for Penrith.

South Sydney Rabbitohs – Blake Ferguson 

South Sydney have been a let down so far this year. Their forward pack has struggled to aim, Greg Inglis has featured for all of 50 minutes, and Adam Reynolds has struggled with his personal form for much of the year. They’ve signed Dane Gagai for 2018 to add strike, but they’re still one back short of a class backline. Set to lose both Aaron Gray and Bryson Goodwin at season’s end, the addition of Ferguson on the wing would see a backline of Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston, Hymel Hunt, Dane Gagai and Blake Ferguson, possibly one of the best backlines in the competition.

Set to lose both Aaron Gray and Bryson Goodwin at season’s end, the addition of Ferguson on the wing would see a backline of Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston, Hymel Hunt, Dane Gagai and Blake Ferguson, possibly one of the best backlines in the competition.

St George Illawarra Dragons – Kevin Naiqama 

St. George Illawarra have lost a lot of quality in their backline already this year. Josh Dugan and Taane Milne have both confirmed their departures, while Kurt Mann looks increasingly likely to exit the Wollongong club at the end of 2017. Naiqama can slot in at fullback, centre or wing, and would add some strike into a backline losing a whole heap of it.

Naiqama can slot in at fullback, centre or wing, and would add some strike into a backline losing a whole heap of it.

Sydney Roosters – Sam Tagatese

The recruitment of James Tedesco propels the Roosters from premiership hopefuls to near favouritism, but to win a competition you need depth. They’ve already lost a fair amount of it in the shape of Aiden Guerra and Paul Carter, and quick forward Sam Tagatese could add some spark off the bench for the Bondi boys. While Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Dylan Napa have the starting prop role nailed down, Tagatese could add some starch when the ‘bruise brothers’ take a breath.

While Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Dylan Napa have the starting prop role nailed down, Tagatese could add some starch when the ‘bruise brothers’ take a breath.

Wests Tigers – Anybody

The Wests Tigers are in a deep hole following the exit of their three star players and have turned to quantity over quality, signing anyone and everyone they can to lessen the void. They’ve been linked to a new player every week, and will probably have a crack at half the players mentioned here. They just need to fill up that bus.

They’ve been linked to a new player every week, and will probably have a crack at half the players mentioned here. They just need to fill up that bus.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Anyone suggesting that the Eels should pick up Lichaa is surely having a laugh. I realise that we are getting more and more desperate to fill that position, but surely we’re not that desperate???

    • theres a lot of chatter that this move is on….and possibly by June 30.
      Is Lichaa’s form due to to Des and how his teams play or is it a sign that Lichaa is not up to scratch? Its a question that wont be answered until he has gone from the Dogs.
      He will come cheap…so it would be a reasonable gamble from the club that picks him up for a year.

      • I think of it this way. The Eels are known for buying big name players that have turned into disasters, i.e. Sandow, Foran etc. The big names come with a lot of hype, and with that comes pressure. In Lichaa’s case, there is no hype and the expectation is zilch, zero, zip. This may well work in his favour. Hence if Lichaa fly’s under the radar and does a good thing here and there, it will be deemed a success. Time will tell I guess.

  2. I’m hearing that Michael Lichaa will be at Parramatta before June 30 deadline. Has anyone else heard this?

    • have heard that Lawrence is off to either tigers or eels for next year….twent is not a fan apparently.

      • I just don’t just don’t get it, if he was to be let go for a younger player fair enough, but I wouldn’t trade him for someone like tim grant..

    • i cant beleive it either. Lawrence has been great for us. apparently he wants two years, manly only ready to offer 1yr.
      as for Tim Grant tho…thats a gee up for sure. Ofahengaue, or even Paasi at least!

      • I don’t see how knights don’t go after Lawrence, sure he’s cheap enough brings massive experience and a no nonesense attitude with things, he provides something different, especially a team like knights.. I hope we keep him for 1 more year, can’t see anyone available that’s better so maybe following year there is

  3. I think going back to Cronulla wont hurt for him, their down on hookers with Brailey and Segeyaro injured and Mortimore overseas

  4. Blair would be a great signing for the Warriors, they need punch and mongrel up the middle, perhaps Lawrence or Re signing Vete as another signing.

  5. gotheels. parra definately is that desperate.

    and semitrailer1 you are absolutely correct. the Lixhaa story is true. He wants a realease by 30th June. Funny enough Dogs v Parra on Thursday 29th June. Do they release him day after the game on 30th?

    • Thanks for the response.
      If it’s true, then no one can say that BA doesn’t have a sense of humor.

  6. Is this a gee up. Tagatese to Roosters. It wouldn’t surprise but surely at some point the Roosters have to shed some players to become salary cap compliant, or does Tedesco work for food scraps. How does a club laden with rep players in just about every position pick up a million dollar player like Tedesco and not have to shed anybody. Its complete bullcrap!

    Sharks starting to get into the same bracket. In the words of the diminutive Mr Toovey: “There has to be an investigation!”

    • In fairness Kenny-Dowell has left, Kane Evans is leaving, Guerra is leaving, Sam Moa left and Blake Ferguson looks on his way out. That’s 4 internationals and a SOO has been.

  7. Blair has said he didn’t want to join Warriors. I think we need to look at NAS, Lawrence or someone especially with Matalino leaving.

  8. These should be the go-to players to sign this season ( some not off contract):

    Brenton Lawrence
    Aaron Gray
    Jacob Lillyman
    Ryan Hoffman
    Latrell Mitchell
    Connor Watson
    Shaun Kenny-Dowell
    Craig Garvey
    Peter Matautia
    Gideon Mosby Gela
    Blake Ferguson
    Cody Walker

  9. NAS is not going anywhere
    1 Munster
    2 Vunivalu
    3 Chambers
    4 Scott
    5 Addo-Carr
    6 Maloney back here
    7 Croft
    8 Bromwich
    9 Smith
    10 Asofa-Solomona
    11 Kaufusi
    12 Stimpson
    13 Finucane

    14 Smith
    15 Kasiano
    16 K Bromwich
    17 Glasby

  10. I’ve heard the rumours re Lichaa to Parra, but surely not? Peats wants to come back, and is asking a fair price, in my book at least, and we “bargain” hunt a hooker?????

    Given the way young Kaysa has played this year he should own the 9 (next year) if we’re going to develop a hooker, or be first reserve to a quality / experienced player if we bring one in (like Peats).

    Lichaa just doesn’t fit. He isn’t the “quality” hooker, and having (only) both (Kaysa and Lichaa) isn’t going to help develop either, not to mention, we are already developing a number of young players.

Comments are closed.