Not long to go until March 2 when Southern Cross Group stadium will host the reigning premier Sharks taking on the visiting Broncos squad. The NRL has kept the journo’s busy, dishing out a few little storylines that may have gone unnoticed. Lucky for you, we here at Oddschecker will keep you up to speed with all the rumblings from around the grounds.
Barba’s Au Revoir
Ben Barba ended the stalemate between himself and the NRL by putting pen to paper on a long-term contract off from the Toulon Rugby Union Club in France. Barba’s return to the NRL was in question with an impending 12-match ban. Now it seems even further from reality that Barba would ever play in our league again.
Sharks get an early Valentine’s gift
Creative subtitle I know, but the Sharks would be truly ecstatic at the news that young gun Valentine Holmes has opted not to pursue a career in the NFL and remain with the club for two more years. Holmes played predominantly on the wing, but after Ben Barba’s recent evacuation, there’s a vacant Number 1 jersey with his name on it.
Brisbane name Boyd as Captain
A curious decision in my eyes, but the Brisbane Broncos have named Darius Boyd as their new captain going into 2017. Boyd has had issues in the past with off-field stability but in recent seasons has seen himself play some pretty good footy. Boyd capped off 2016 by being named the Paul Morgan medal winner by being the Broncos best-and-fairest player for the season. Boyd will be supported by big personalities such as Thaiday and Blair as well as captain in waiting Alex Glenn. This Broncos squad as a unit should be primed for a big 2017.
Roosters win the Nines
The Sydney Roosters won the Auckland Nines over the weekend against a plucky Penrith Panthers outfit. The Roosters won by two points but showed flashes of potential allover the park. Hopefully this can be translated into their regular season form. The Roosters big miss last year was in the halves. If they can get some consistency happening there, they may even be able to sneak into the eight.
Tohu Harris signed with the Warriors in yet another 2018 contract being signed a season early. Harris signed a four-year deal linking up with a number of local stars in the land of the long white cloud. This is a big loss for the Storm and an equally big gain for the Warriors. Harris was one of the more consistent performers for last year’s runners up.
David Shillington retired. Shillington was going in for his ninth surgery. An unfortunate way to go out for the former Titan, Raider and Rooster has been a great longstanding servant for the game. An ever-reliable prop that will be missed.
Anthony Tupou signs with the Knights. A good signing for both parties involved. The Knights need this injection of experience and Tupou needed a home. Tupou was born in Newcastle so this will give him the opportunity to play out his career in his hometown.
By Nik Hatzi