Transfer Whispers, Justin Olam, Storm, Matt Lodge, Eels, Jackson Hastings, Knights, Tigers, Warriors, contracts, signings
The Eels are looking to sign former Warriors star Matt Lodge on a short-term deal for their run to the 2022 final.
The Melbourne Storm are set to retain Papua New Guinean center Justin Olam until the end of the 2026 season.
Meanwhile, the Knights discussed making a play for Tigers halfback Jackson Hastings.
Read on for all the latest NRL transfer whispers.
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POACH TIGERS CROSS CODE STAR
The Wests Tigers are expected to land the New South Wales Waratahs ahead of Triston Reilly.
The 23-year-old represented Australia in the sevens match and was also a member of the Junior Wallabies team that won the 2019 Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championship.
Although he has four Super Rugby caps to his name, it won’t be the first time Reilly has played rival code and is set to return to the sport he grew up in.
Reilly played Harold Matthews with the Newcastle Knights, then moved to Sydney for boarding school at rugby union nursery St Joseph’s College.
The Kempsey native played SG Ball at the Rabbitohs and played schoolboys rugby union at the same time.
According The Daily Telegraph the Wests Tigers are expected to announce the signing soon, with a lack of minutes at the Waratahs prompting the switch with Reilly set to land in 2023.
Reilly is an exciting prospect for the Wests Tigers as the Waratahs product can play all over the park.
In the past, he mainly played his rugby league 5-a-side but played centers during his school days, eventually moving to the wing while at the Waratahs.
STORM STAR SET TO INK LONG TERM EXTENSION
The Storm are set to retain superstar center Justin Olam in a deal that will see him stay in Melbourne until the end of the 2026 season.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Olam is set to sign a new contract which will keep him at the club for the next four seasons in a massive coup for the Storm.
The Papua New Guinean product is recognized as one of the best centers in the competition, winning the 2021 Dally M Medal Center of the Year award.
Signing Olam would see him join the illustrious side of Harry Grant, Xavier Coates and Jahrome Hughes who all re-signed with the club in April this year.
The Storm will be eager for Cameron Munster to join the shortlist, but are well aware of rival clubs who are willing to offer him much more financially lucrative deals.
Given the dearth of quality crosses in the competition, Olam would have been on the radars of several rival clubs, but the storm locking him in for the long haul ensured that didn’t happen.
EELS’ OFFER TO SIGN EX-WARRIORS STAR ON SHORT-TERM DEAL
The Eels are reportedly trying to lure former Warriors star Matt Lodge to Parramatta for the remainder of the 2022 season.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Eels inquired about Lodge’s availability and what it would cost them on the salary cap for the rest of the year.
The NRL estimated Lodge’s current market value and told the Eels they would need to find $20,000 per game for a total of $250,000 on their salary cap to sign Lodge.
This amount will decrease each week. Lodge remains unsigned, opening the possibility of the former Tigers and Broncos prop joining the Eels in their run to the Finals.
Parramatta is keen to bolster his front-row depth as he tries to break his premiership drought, but is unwilling to pay more than $200,000 to do so.
However, the Eels could choose to emulate the Panthers’ acquisition of Tevita Pangai Jr on a short-term deal last season with around five weeks until the final.
The Eels must sign Lodge by Aug. 1 if they want him to be eligible to play in the 2022 Finals Series.
Lodge has a history with Eels stars Mitchell Moses and Nathan Brown, who came through the Tigers system together as youngsters.
Lodge has scored four tries in 91 games for the Tigers, Broncos and Warriors since making his debut in 2022.
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KNIGHTS HUNTING ANOTHER TIGERS PLAYMAKER
After seemingly making a big play for Luke Brooks this offseason, the Knights have now set their sights on Jackson Hastings.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Knights had been in talks about luring Hastings to Newcastle for 2023.
Hastings is under contract with the Tigers until the end of 2023, but following the departure of Michael Maguire his future at the club remains uncertain.
Hastings management shares a close relationship with Knights head of recruiting Clint Zammit.
Hastings is currently on a deal worth $375,000 in 2022, but that will increase to around $500,000 next season.
The Tigers have also signed Adam Doueihi and Luke Brooks for next season, while Jock Madden is out of contract this year and is looking for a new deal with the Tigers or an NRL rival.
The Tigers have a mandate to develop youngsters moving up the ranks, which opens up the possibility for Hastings to move to a long-term contract elsewhere if he is not part of the club’s future plans.
That would be a tough pill for Tigers fans to swallow, as Hastings has been one of their best players this season.
The 26-year-old has scored three tries and 92 points in 56 NRL games for the Roosters, Sea Eagles and Tigers since his debut in 2014, while he played 86 games in four Super League seasons for Salford and Wigan .
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