The Wests Tigers aren’t the only NRL club sharpening their pencil to have a crack at Parramatta’s grand final halfback Mitchell Moses.
Powerbrokers at Canterbury-Bankstown have also identified Moses as the no.7 who can help pilot the club back towards being a top four side and have discussed making a major play to try and land his signature from arch rivals Parramatta.
The development should have alarm bells blaring at the Eels because the Bulldogs are clearly a club on the way up and a halves combination of Moses and Matt Burton in 2024 would transform the Dogs into a serious title contender.
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What it most certainly means is Moses is on target to become the NRL’s next $1 million per season player given the Eels, Wests Tigers and Canterbury-Bankstown are all at the table.
The curve ball impediment in terms of the negotiating process is Bulldogs king pin Phil Gould and Moses’s agent and cousin Isaac Moses have long been off.
Gould and Issac Moses have been no speakies for a number of years now but Moses is close to a number of other influential types at the club and that’s how the ball has started rolling.
The possible addition of Moses to a side gaining Reed Mahoney, Viliame Kikau and Ryan Sutton for 2023 shows the Bulldogs mean business under new coach Cameron Ciraldo.
And there’s also no question the club is still seriously looking at making a major play for Panthers back Stephen Crichton to play fullback in 2024.
Canterbury-Bankstown are currently in the process of undergoing a major roster overhaul with a host of current Bulldogs players given permission to look around for other clubs.
The idea is to clear the decks with a view to being able to add another two marquee signings to the roster for 2024.
GOULD’S SYDNEY RAID
The other area where the Bulldogs have been busy bolstering their ranks is right in Gould’s sweet spot in junior development.
Canterbury-Bankstown have recently signed some of the best emerging talent in the Jersey Flegg ranks by raiding the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla Sharks.
Where the Bulldogs have been smart is by offering the rookie players NRL train and trial contracts on top of their playing contracts in the junior grades.
It means new Bulldogs coach Ciraldo is going to have a huge squad of players over the course of the summer during pre-season training.
It also points towards the Canterbury-Bankstown being on the fast track back towards becoming an NRL powerhouse.
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JWH’S POST-FOOTBALL CAREER
The mail about Sydney Roosters champion prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves being chased by French Super League club Catalans Dragons is on the money but the Tricolours are confident the Kiwi Test enforcer will see out the final year of his contract in 2023.
Beyond that the Roosters have also hatched a plan to get the NRL’s best front rower of the past decade into a coaching and welfare role at the Moore Park-based club.
The way we’ve heard it the Roosters aren’t talking about SG Ball or Jersey Flegg – there’s plenty of people at the club who want JWH parachuted straight into coaching a role with the NRL side in 2024.
With the Roosters releasing fellow front rower Sio Siua Taukeiaho to take up a two-year deal with Catalans for next season the Tricolours can’t afford to also lose another international prop – especially one of JWH’s standing in the game.
With Waerea-Hargreaves, Lindsay Collins and Matt Lodge all locked in for next season the Roosters are still in position to compete with the NRL’s best sides.
BATEMAN’S SLIP OF THE TONGUE
We know rugby league always moves in mysterious ways but we had to have a good laugh about the Wigan Warriors jumping on the front foot to deny the move about John Bateman being linked to a return to the NRL with the Wests Tigers.
The way the story got out was because the England team all got together for a drink during the World Cup and Bateman was openly telling teammates the plan was he’s coming back to the NRL to join the Wests Tigers.
The Tigers are happy to pay the $250,000 transfer fee Wigan have put on Bateman and there’s no question given his playing ability the England backrower would be a huge coup if the club who picked up last season’s NRL wooden spoon can land him.
New Tigers coach Tim Sheens personally met with Bateman when he was in the UK last month to pitch the club’s vision about where they’re headed.
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MOSES AND FARAH’S BAD BLOOD
One of the more significant hurdles the Wests Tigers were facing in the club’s pursuit of Mitch Moses was his relationship with the club’s assistant coach Robbie Farah.
Farah and Moses played together at Wests Tigers when Moses first emerged on the scene and it’s fair to say the duo never always saw eye-to-eye.
But that’s all been laid to rest since the pair has been in camp for the Rugby League World Cup with Lebanon and they’re now great mates again.
Whether it can help the Tigers land Moses’s signature remains to be seen.