The Melbourne Storm have begun a “frantic” search for reinforcements as the August 1 transfer deadline looms.
Meanwhile, there’s still a chance that a departing Eels star backflips on his deal and the Roosters have signed the brother of the incoming Brandon Smith.
Read on for the all the latest in NRL Transfer Whispers.
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DEPLETED STORM LOOKING FOR REINFORCEMENTS
The Storm are reportedly on the hunt for a middle forward for the remainder of the season but with the August 1 deadline looming they may run out of time.
news corp journalist Brent Read revealed on Triple M that the Storm have approached the Titans, Knights and Dragons about particular players but have had no luck.
“The Melbourne Storm are still chasing a middle. The August 1 deadline is around 48 hours away and I reckon we’re going to have a really frantic 48 hours for a few clubs,” he said.
“Melbourne are in the middle of that. They’ve already approached the Gold Coast about Mo Fotuaika — that got knocked back. They approached the Dragons this week over Tariq [Sims], that got knocked back. They approached Newcastle about Mitch Barnett, that got knocked back.
“But they are still searching the NRL for a middle forward so I’d except them to be frantically hitting the phones in the next 24 hours.”
With Christian Welch out for the season, Melbourne’s packed has been stretched. But it’s not as depleted as their backline stocks, which took another hit on Friday night when Nick Meaney suffered a shoulder injury.
Coach Craig Bellamy has had some luck in the market, signing Tigers winger David Nofoaluma on a loan deal for the remainder of the season.
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STAR’S BROTHER TO FOLLOW HIM TO ROOSTERS
The Roosters have reportedly signed Jayden Smith, the brother of Storm star Brandon, who will make the switch to the Tricolors in 2023.
Jayden, 19, a bustling middle forward, has reportedly put pen to paper on a two-year deal to join the Roosters alongside his brother.
Meanwhile, Brandon signed a three-year deal earlier this year worth a reported $800,000-per-year, likely becoming the club’s first choice hooker.
“He’s (Jayden) been in a strong school system in Queensland but is a bit raw like a lot of kids his age because he didn’t play much football during the first round of COVID,” Roosters recruitment manager Daniel Anderson said to WWOS.
“A lot of guys recruitment like bloodlines — it’s also comfortable for the family and the parents to have brothers at the same club.”
Anderson also revealed that the younger of the Smith brothers is of a bigger build, likely getting his start with his new club in SG Ball.
“So it will be interesting to see how he goes. He’s bigger than Brandon and will play middle forward.
“We will start Jayden in the SG Ball Cup and see how he develops.
“He definitely looks a prospect.”
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WHY EELS STAR COULD STILL BACKFLIP ON TIGERS
Parramatta Eels star Isaiah Papali’i could still backflip on a move to the Wests Tigers, according to the Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio.
Papali’i signed a three-year, $1.9m deal with the Tigers from 2023 but reportedly has had second thoughts following the departure of Michael Maguire as coach.
After missing out on Cameron Ciraldo, the Tigers announced that Tim Sheens will take over for two seasons before being succeeded by Benji Marshall in 2025.
Marshall was questioned about Papali’i’s move to the Tigers on Fox League last week and was unable to guarantee he would honor the deal.
Riccio said the response was an indication the move could still fall through.
“This is based on the fact that there’s still no clear definitive situation surrounding Isaiah Papali’i’s move to the Tigers,” Riccio said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“We know that Papali’i doesn’t want to go to the Tigers, both clubs are acutely aware of that.
“It was interesting listening to Benji Marshall’s interview with Jake Duke last Monday night and how Benji couldn’t give a straight answer on whether Papali’i would be at the Wests Tigers.
“Benji has spoken with Papali’i but he couldn’t confirm that he’d be there.”
Riccio said the Eels would be doing what they could to retain their prized asset.
“The Eels still have salary cap space for Papali’i and while he’s playing good football the Eels will be trying hard to keep him.”
Fox League’s Greg Alexander said it could be a disaster for the Tigers who have let several stars go, including Kelma Tuilagi, Luciano Leilua and Luke Garner.
“That would be a disaster,” Alexander said on SEN.
“If Papali’i doesn’t go to the Tigers, if he backflips, it would be a disaster.
“No (Kelma) Tuilagi, no (Luciano) Leilua, no Luke Garner.”