Transfer Watch: Kiwis link in Tigers’ bid for Smith
Michael Maguire's New Zealand Test links with Brandon Smith could prove pivotal as Wests Tigers join the race for one of the NRL's most coveted signatures.
Storm star Smith is seeking a release from the final year of his deal in 2022 - and his Kiwi coach Maguire has confirmed the Tigers' interest in luring him to Leichhardt.
"He's a very good hooker, I have a lot of time for how he plays the game," Maguire said.
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"He's played a different role down there (in Melbourne) due to the circumstances, but in my time with the Kiwis he's been excellent. He's one of those players everyone loves to play with, but his craft around that space - he's very smart.
"We're very particular with what we're after. We want winners, we want people who are going to go above and beyond, because that's what it takes to win comps."
Roberts in particular shapes as an intriguing signing - Maguire has links with the troubled speed machine dating back to their Rabbitohs days, and backed himself to get the best out of the 27-year old.
"It's up to James (how he plays). He knows what he needs to do and he's in a good place at the moment. When he does play his footy we know how he can play and the quality of player he is.
"Everything he said to me makes me say that. He understands he needs to get himself right, like all our players."
PANTHER'S SWITCH HOPES DASHED
The Wests Tigers chances of snaring Penrith's Daine Laurie for the 2021 season have hit a serious snag. It's understood that Laurie put in for an official release from the final year of his development deal but the Panthers have denied the request. Laurie, who has ambitions to play at fullback, has agreed to join the Tigers from season 2022 on a two-year deal.
TIGERS TO TIE DOWN STAR WINGER
Also at Concord, star winger David Nofoaluma has been offered a long-term extension at the club.
Nofoaluma is off-contract at the end of season 2021 and is being offered a new contract that will see him at the Tigers until the end of season 2024. The flyer has attracted interest from rivals but Tigers halfback Luke Brooks has urged Nofoaluma to commit to the club.
"He's been our best player for a while, he's a guy I love playing with, you always know what you're going to get with Nofo. I'm sure everyone at the club wants him stay, I know I definitely want him stay so hopefully they can sort something sooner rather than later so he can just focus on playing footy," Brooks said.
SURPRISE SOUTH SYDNEY SIGNING
Beau Scott has emerged as a shock candidate to join the South Sydney coaching set-up. It is understood the former Sharks, Dragons, Knights and Eels representative player is being considered to coach the Rabbitohs reserve grade team.
Scott won a premiership under Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett at St George Illawarra in 2010 before joining Bennett in Newcastle. He retired after three seasons at the Eels in 2018.
Scott was working as a video referee before the NRL axed ex-players on the eve of the finals.
DRAGONS SWOOP FOR BRONCOS TARGET
John Asiata is set to reject a last-minute approach from St George Illawarra and finally join the Broncos. It has long been anticipated the Cowboys premiership winner would link with the Broncos but that did not stop the Dragons from making a play for Asiata in recent weeks. However, it is expected he will commit to the Broncos who have freed up cash by the recent exit of Joe Ofahengaue to the Tigers.
LOCKED AND LOADED
- Wests Tigers prop Zane Musgrove has knocked back interest from the Dragons to sign a new three-year deal that will keep him at the club until at least the end of 2024.
- Rising centre Brian Kelly has re-signed with the Titans, inking a deal that will keep him on the Gold Coast until the end of 2023
- Kevin Walters has struck his first retention blow with boom prop Tom Flegler rejecting big offers from Sydney clubs to officially sign a two-year extension with the Broncos
- Exciting young gun Albert Hopoate has made the move to Canberra on a cut-price, one-year deal after leaving the Sea Eagles
- The most-prized signature in the NRL is off the market after Sydney Roosters superstar James Tedesco finally inked a new deal, signing a three-year extension that will keep him at the club until the end of 2024
- Samoa Test centre Tautau Moga has linked with his old coach Wayne Bennett after joining South Sydney on a one-year deal.
- Wests Tigers will have close to $500,000 available in next season's salary cap after five-eighth Josh Reynolds' decision to take up an offer in the English Super League with Hull FC.
- Former Knights and Bulldogs half Jack Cogger has also signed a two-year deal with Super League club Huddersfield.
Originally published as Transfer Watch: Kiwis link in Tigers' bid for Smith