Issac Luke is a man in demand. Picture: Matt Blyth/Getty Images
Issac Luke is a man in demand. Picture: Matt Blyth/Getty Images

NRL briefs: revenge after treacherous $3 million power play

JUST days after the Warriors' $3.1 million offer to lure youngster Dylan Brown away from Parramatta was revealed, the Eels are set to return serve.

Parramatta is considering a poaching raid of its own on the Kiwi club, keen to see Issac Luke join the Eels immediately.

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed Parramatta was contemplating offering the veteran hooker a more lucrative deal than the one he signed with the Warriors, with a view to getting him in blue and gold in 2019 and 2020.

The deal was believed to be worth about $728,000 in total, but was not formally put on the table.

The addition of Luke would add some much-needed experience to the Eels' spine.

Second-year hooker Reed Mahoney is positioned to take the reins in the No. 9 jersey as the roster stands, and  Jaeman Salmon - who has played only five games in the NRL - is expected to replace Corey Norman in the halves alongside Mitchell Moses.

While Eels coach Brad Arthur believes Mahoney is the club's long-term No.9, Luke's experience would be a welcome addition.

Issac Luke would be a valuable addition to any team. Picture: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images
Issac Luke would be a valuable addition to any team. Picture: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

The Parramatta Eels will be looking for an improved 2019 campaign.

The biggest underachiever in 2018, the Eels finished bottom of the ladder after being tipped as a playoff contender by pundits.

- NZ Herald

YOUNG GUN AIMING HIGH

COREY Allan looked around the room and saw  NRL superstars Daly Cherry-Evans, David Klemmer, Jake Trbojevic and Tyson Frizell.

"I was just looking at all the players around me, I was thinking in my head 'f---, what am I doing here'," Allan said.

It was September last year and the little-known fullback had just arrived at the Pullman Hotel at Sydney Airport, where he was checking in for a physical after being hand-picked by Mal Meninga to be part of the Prime Minister's XIII.

The side is widely considered a stepping stone to the Australian Test team but Allan was picked despite having not made his NRL debut.

The idea of getting a nod was so far from his radar that he was camping with mates in central Queensland when he received the phone call telling him he was in.

He had to drive five hours back to Brisbane to meet up with the rest of the team in Sydney the next day.

"I didn't know what to say," Allan told AAP.

"All these people I've watched play and big names and no one knows who I am. It was nerve-racking.

"Straight away Mal says, 'Corey, how ya going?' And then all the other players came and introduced themselves."

Corey Allan is living out his dream.
Corey Allan is living out his dream.

Being shoved out of his comfort zone has been a recurring theme in Allan's life of late.

After an excellent 2018, when he was selected in the Australian under-20s side, the powerfully built fullback made the decision to leave Brisbane and his hometown to move to South Sydney on a three-year deal.

Despite having Greg Inglis and Alex Johnston ahead of him in the pecking order for the Rabbitohs No.1 jumper, he decided to take the leap.

The 20-year-old is now in the running for a first-grade spot this year and will start Saturday's first trial on the wing.

Despite working over the last several years to establish himself as a fullback, he said he was willing to learn a new position if it meant earning an NRL debut and a regular starting role.

"Regardless of where you are, there's going to be someone in front of you," Allan said.

"I've got Greg if he wants to play fullback. I've got AJ who can play fullback. I've got players in front of me here, just like I had Darbs (Darius Boyd) and Jamayne (Isaako) back in Brisbane.

"I needed to get out of my comfort zone - that was the main thing. I felt like I was getting too comfortable in Brissy and just going through the motions."

- Steve Zemek, AAP

JENNINGS FINDS A NEW HOME

ROBERT Jennings has signed a two-year NRL deal with the Wests Tigers despite the spectre of a salary cap penalty hanging over the joint venture.

Winger Jennings was at South Sydney training on Thursday morning but by the afternoon had inked a deal with the Tigers for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, ending his four-month long contract limbo.

The 23-year-old's contract with the Rabbitohs ran out on October 31 last year and both parties had spoken of locking in a new deal, but the cardinal and myrtle could not find a place for the Tongan flyer in their salary cap.

He trained with the Rabbitohs throughout the summer in the hope of getting a deal done but was eventually forced to look elsewhere.

He was signed by the Tigers, despite the prospect of them having their salary cap shaved this year.

Robert Jennings will be wearing orange and black this season.
Robert Jennings will be wearing orange and black this season.

Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe was provisionally deregistered after the NRL issued the club with a breach notice for allegedly failing to report an offer of an ambassadorial role made to Robbie Farah.

The NRL is also proposing to deduct $639,000 from the Tigers' salary cap. However, the NRL told the Tigers that signing Jennings would not put them over the salary cap this year.

"Robert is a quality young man who I've worked with before and seen develop into the talented rugby league player he is," Tigers coach Michael Maguire said.

"He adds size, power and speed to our edges and is an excellent addition to our squad.

"Off the back of a strong season, I have no doubt he is going to fit extremely well in to our systems and I am looking forward to watching him take the next steps in his career at this club."

Jennings made 34 appearances for the Rabbitohs over the past two years and enjoyed a break-out 2018, when he crossed for 19 tries - the third most in the competition.

"We tried everything we could to keep Robert at the Rabbitohs but unfortunately we aren't in a position to be able to keep him as part of our squad due to salary cap constraints," Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson said.

"He had a break-out season last year and he worked very hard to earn a spot in our NRL squad, performing strongly on the left wing outside of Greg Inglis."

- Steve Zemek, AAP

News Corp Australia


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