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The New Zealand Warriors are looking to fill the void at halfback left by Shaun Johnson with Parramatta Eels young gun Dylan Brown, according to a report by The NZ Herald.

The 18-year old is yet to make his first-grade debut but is highly rated amongst NRL circles, currently contracted at the Eels until the end of the 2020 season.

It is understood that the Warriors are keen to extend Brown’s contract beyond next season.

Johnson demanded a release from the Warriors on Wednesday following uncertainty surrounding his long-term future at the club, and is believed to be close to signing a one-year deal with the Cronulla Sharks.

Brown has built up the reputation as a strong defensive leader and was identified by Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan as a suitable replacement for Johnson.

Following Johnson’s release, the cashed up Warriors are still exploring all their options, with emerging Cowboy Te Maire Martin in their sights, as well as other potential big-name half that may fall onto the market.


  1. Well, THAT makes sense. After all, Parramatta are spoilt for choice for halves ATM. Hey, “3 wise eels” is anyone driving the Eels bus or are they all asleep at the wheel?

    ‘We’re not willing to compromise our culture’ – Warriors CEO Cameron George

    “During the meeting Shaun clearly demonstrated to us that he didn’t want to be at the club in 2019,” George said.

    “On the basis of what Shaun told us, we are not going to compromise our culture on and off the field with people who do not wish to represent our club, members and fans in the way we expect.

    It’s hard to argue with that but was it wise to back SJ into a corner about his re-signing post-2019 after losing BOTH Ata Hingano and Mason Lino with no halves replacement in sight? Perhaps Warriors fans can shed some light on whether there are any young quality halves coming through their system? Always best to recruit a young gun from your own system before looking for a rookie from elsewhere I think. Souths have done this more often than not in the past and the Warriors have a MUCH bigger nursery to chose from.

    • And you can throw Tui Lolohea onto that list as well. Not exactly building for the future in Aotearoa “the land of the long white cloud”.

    • No one is “asleep at the wheel”, not yet anyway. This is just the Warriors expressing an interest, there is no indication that the Eels are prepared to let him walk away without a fight. It is my understanding that he is seen as our future half back, but given his age there is obviously still some development before he steps up to NRL level.

      I would be extremely surprised if we aren’t already in discussions about an extension. The hard part might be the reported contract details being thrown around at the moment. IF TRUE (that is for you Reg as I know you will jump all over the fact that I am talking about media speculation), and the Warriors are talking about 5 or six years and multi millions of dollars, then I think the Eels will find it very hard to compete. That said, I highly doubt the Warriors would be prepared to invest so much in someone with zero NRL experience, so it is probably a case of the media seriously inflating things again.

      • I agree eels47, it is ridiculous to offer an unproven rookie with no NRL experience that amount of money.

        Mind you, I think we BOTH said much the same thing about “2018 Players Choice MVP” Kayln Ponga signing with the Knights for $600K a season. Perhaps I might be confusing my words with the “original” SSTID (“may he Read In Peace”) but in hindsight that deal is now a steal for the Knights. Granted though that Ponga is somewhat of a RL prodigy and surely an exception to the rule. Surely?

        • I did think of Ponga when writing my comment, I guess he at least had some experience though, Brown has zero NRL games under his belt at this stage. There are 2 big problems here that I see. Firstly it is such a massive gamble for the club to hang their hat on an unproven player. And secondly, the amount of pressure it places on said player is enormous, and really sets them up to fail.

        • I agree 100% with you on those points eels47.

          You might want to take a screenshot of that and frame it. 😉

  2. The Worriers can target him all they like but he is contracted til the end of 2020 and he will not be granted a release.
    We will have more than any other club to spend at the end of next season and will extend his contract for a further 4 years.
    Look elsewhere Worriers.

    • I sympathise Kev but in a world where RL contracts are used like toilet paper, I don’t see how the Eels can block this without it being classed as a “restraint of trade” based on NRL precedent. How can coaches and A-List players walk away from contracts with little or no warning and tier 2 players get discriminated against?

      Believe me, I am with you on this because Souths face the real threat of losing Damien Cook before the 2019 season if there is a coach swap before then and Cook wants to either follow Seibold to the Broncos or signing a “$6 billion dollar” contract with the Roosters. How do clubs and the NRL dig themselves out of the loophole that they have created? THAT is the question.

        • Nothing to do with restraint of trade Reg. Restraint of trade would be applicable if we tried to stop him earning extra money outside of his contract i.e. TPA’s. Walking away from a contract is an entirely different animal. If he was to walk from the contract without our blessing he wouldn’t be able to join another NRL or Super League club until 2021. He would have to join rugby union until his contract with us is over and even then the NRL might not rubber stamp his contract as they are not find of union code hoppers.

        • Fair enough Kev, I just hope they fix this farcical situation with contracts being broken every day now. Currently all parties in the NRL can ignore a legally binding contract when it suits them. It needs to be fixed before ALL players in the NRL are either playing in the NFL or for the Roosters!

          Can you imagine the chooks doing a lap of honour with the trophy after winning 12 straight premierships and breaking the Dragons’ record after playing 17 vs 0 each year. I bet the Roosters fans would still celebrate that hollow victory regardless.

        • In all fairness Reg we haven’t won the premiership in over 30 years so I would celebrate any victory even a hollow one.
          But you are right. The NRL need to fix the contract issues but considering the dope who runs the show I ain’t holding my breath!

        • Then you must have celebrated 🥂🍾 in 2006 Woody. Because that is the last time both our teams finished 1 and 2 at the wrong end of the ladder.

  3. For those playing along at home, the Eels have confirmed on their website and social media that Brown is contracted until the end of 2020, not 2019 as some places have suggested.

    • While Souths have confirmed that Anthony Seibold is contracted until the end of 2019, the Broncos have confirmed the same with Bennett, Valentine Holmes was contracted to the Sharks until the end of 2019 and the Tigers confirmed some time ago that Ivan Cleary was contracted with them until the end of 2020. Just as long as we have all our bases covered eels47 what could possibly go wrong? 😉

  4. @Kev… u havnt won a premiership in 30yrs. The way my team is going we wont get our 1st one in that timeframe. We just might need Young Gun Brown to help us out. At least he isnt scared to take on defensive lines and tackle!
    Young and the pressure of a club like the Warriors on his shoulders can be alot for a new guy who hasnt played in the NRL 1st grade yet but with Green there he would be fine imo. I’ve watched this young guy play a few times and i was like ‘daammn bro!’ I like what he has to offer….sh%tloads more balls then SJ!!

    • “sh%tloads more balls then SJ!!”

      Are you talking quality balls or quantity warriorz7? Because Michael Lichaa has thrown a sh%tload of passes but most have ended up over the sideline… what? Did I say something wrong?

    • I’ll give you a tip warriorz7, the Warriors should make a play for Jarome Luai (Panthers) if the Eels lock down Dylan Brown. Or make a play for him anyway as a future halves partner for Brown. He won’t get many opportunities behind Maloney and Cleary at the Panthers you would think. Also, he is of New Zealand descent through his mother so a change might have some appeal due to a family connection perhaps. It’s worth a shot at least now that there is plenty of cash left in the Warriors coffers after SJ’s departure.

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