Today we look at the ins and outs for 2018 and beyond for the Dragons, Panthers, Cowboys and Sea Eagles. How have they recruited thus far? Who should they target?
- 2018 Recruitment Gradings – Tigers, Knights, Titans, Rabbitohs
- 2018 Recruitment Gradings – Bulldogs, Warriors, Raiders, Eels
Without knowing the exact salary cap position of each side, take the suggestions with a grain of salt, but given reports, and common sense, they are players each side would likely be able to recruit.
Out: Zach Dockar-Clay (Hull Kingston Rovers), Peta Hiku (Warrington Wolves), Samisoni Langi (released), Te Maire Martin (North Queensland Cowboys), Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (Wests Tigers)
Off Contract: Sitaleki Akauola, Sione Katoa, Darren Nicholls, Michael Oldfield, Tony Satini
Re-signed: Viliame Kikau (2018), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (2020), Dean Whare (2022), Corey Harawira-Naera
Not a whole lot of movement on the recruitment front at the foot of the mountains, with no confirmed signings for 2018 and beyond just yet. The re-signing of DWZ and Dean Whare are important, although it’s the penning of CHN to a new deal that the recruitment team can really hang their hat on. Chased by numerous clubs, the try-scoring second rower is a future superstar and a brilliant re-signing. There isn’t a plethora of talent off contract out Penrith way, meaning the bulk of the job is already done.
Should Target: Gerard Beale
In reality, the Panthers don’t really need too much to go forward. The talent is there, it’s just a question as to whether or not Anthony Griffin can unlock it. The Panthers have gone from genuine contenders to also-rans in the space of 17 NRL rounds. They’re going to really struggle to make the finals now, which is shocking to me given the ability on the roster. They could probably use another experienced option out wide, who wouldn’t break the bank. I don’t know if Beale is the answer, but his arrival wouldn’t hurt given the performances he’s produced during his time at the Sharks.
The Panthers certainly aren’t weaker as a result of their 2017 movements, but I’d argue they’re not stronger either. They’ve lost a few fringe first graders, but their talented NSW cup and NYC sides should provide plenty of cover if injuries continue to occur. The re-signing of CHN is a brilliant move. It looks as though the releases of Hiku and co were to allow CHN to be upgraded. Not a whole lot to say here, but the Panthers, given their current NRL ladder position probably aren’t where they thought they would be.