Fresh twist in Bird saga as ‘communication breakdown’ revealed: NRL Transfer Whispers
There’s been yet another twist in Jack Bird’s contract saga with reports there was a “communication breakdown” with the Dragons.
The Dolphins have been linked with a move for Broncos hooker Jake Turpin after reportedly missing out on prime target Harry Grant.
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has admitted his club would be interested in signing Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo if he leaves his current club.
The Dolphins ‘haven’t given up’ on signing a particular marquee player, while Manly have poached an up-and-coming Tigers forward.Round 2NRLMar 17 8:05pm AESTFTStorm15Rabbitohs14MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORESNRLMar 18 6:00pm AESTFTDragons16Panthers20MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORESNRLMar 18 8:05pm AESTFTRoosters26Sea Eagles12MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORESNRLMar 19 3:00pm AESTFTTitans20Warriors18MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORESNRLMar 19 5:30pm AESTFTSharks18Eels16MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORESNRLMar 19 7:35pm AESTFTCowboys26Raiders6MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORESNRLMar 20 4:05pm AESTFTKnights26Tigers4MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORESNRLMar 20 6:15pm AESTFTBulldogs10Broncos16MATCH CENTRE*Odds are current as of 21st March 2022, 6:01am AESTVIEW ALL SCORES
Still on Manly, Marty Taupau could be on his way to North Queensland earlier rather than later.
And veteran halfback Mitchell Pearce has refused to close the door on a return to the NRL.
Read on for the latest NRL Transfer Whispers.
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BIRD’S DRAGONS CONTRACT SAGA TAKES FRESH TWIST
There has reportedly been a “communication breakdown” between the Dragons and their star backrower Jack Bird, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The Dragons reportedly tabled a $1.1 million, two-year extension to the 26-year-old’s manager, however Bird never received it.
Bird has not picked up his manager’s calls since the club made the offer as he is considering seeking new representation, according to the Herald.
The fresh twist comes after Bird revealed in an interview that he didn’t reject the club’s initial offer for financial reasons — and hasn’t sighted the most recent ofer.
The Dragons reportedly offered Bird a contract extension late last year, which was not taken up and then subsequently pulled by the club.
Reports recently suggested the Dragons had come to the table with a new two-year deal, but Bird revealed he is yet to see the paperwork.
“Rumours coming out saying that I rejected it because of money, that is far from the truth,” Bird told Channel 9.
“The Dragons offered me a deal, they gave me five days to decide and I wasn’t ready to make a decision then, (so) they pulled it off the table.
“I didn’t really have a decision to make then, I had to wait until they were ready to offer me another deal.
“To be honest I don’t even know if they’ve offered me another deal (now). There’s rumours saying they’ve offered me a contract, but I haven’t had anything in front of me.
“I’ve made it clear I want to stay here, I want to play for the Dragons. Hopefully there is an offer there for me.”
Bird revealed he is eyeing a three-year deal that would take him through until he is 30 in 2025.
“Obviously I want some security behind my football,” Bird said.
“I’ve had some injuries that have nearly ruined my career, so I just want a little bit of security behind me, and I want to be a part of this club’s future.
“I’m turning 27 this week, if I get a three-year deal it will take me to 30. Then I can sit down with my family.
“But I still feel my best footy is in front of me. I know I want to do that here at the Dragons.”
Bird has scored 24 tries in 106 games for the Sharks, Broncos and Dragons since his debut in 2015 and has played five Origins for the Blues.
It’s understood the Dragons are now trying to resolve the communication breakdown.
BRONCOS HOOKER LINKED TO DOLPHINS SWITCH
Broncos hooker Jake Turpin has been linked to cross town rivals the Dolphins under former coach Wayne Bennett in 2023.
The Courier Mail reported Turpin, who is off-contract in 2022, could be set to join the Dolphins if as expected they miss out on luring Storm star Harry Grant.
The 25-year-old has scored four tries in 46 games for the Broncos since his debut in 2018 and had been earmarked as a long-term hooker at the club, but injuries and form have hampered his progression at Red Hill.
Turpin was reportedly under pressure from Cory Paix to start in Round 1 after struggling to ignite the Broncos attack in the trials.
Brisbane also have highly rated youngster Blake Mozer on their books, with the 17-year-old regarded as one of the brightest young dummy halves in the game.
The Dolphins were keen to lure Grant as their marquee signing, but he now looks set to ink a long-term deal with the Storm.
That opens the door for the Dolphins to swoop on Turpin as a back-up plan for 2023, with the Broncos showing little interest in re-signing him.
BENNETT CONFIRMS DOLPHINS’ INTEREST IN COWBOYS $1M MAN
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed his club would be interested in signing Cowboys superstar Jason Taumalolo.
Taumalolo is currently on a mega $10 million deal with the Cowboys that takes him through until 2027, but there are rumours of unrest in North Queensland.
Coach Todd Payten has struggled to get the best out of the former Dally M Medal winner since arriving in 2021 and Taumalolo’s form has been on the slide since being switched from lock to second row and prop and back.
It sparked reports the Cowboys and Taumalolo could potentially part ways in a bid to reinvigorate his career at an NRL rival and the Dolphins would be one of several interested suitors according to Bennett.
“If he (Taumalolo) comes off-contract, we would certainly be interested in him,” Bennett told The Courier Mail.
“He is like a lot of other players we are interested in.
“Jason is a wonderful player and has been good for a long time. He has done a great job as captain of Tonga so he is highly credentialled.”
The 28-year-old has scored 37 tries in 212 games for the Cowboys since his debut in 2010 and has also played 23 Tests for New Zealand and Tonga.
If he was to see out his deal with the Cowboys Taumalolo would be 34 in 2027, but any deal to cut ties with the club early would likely rely on another club making a susbtantial investement in his services or the Cowboys paying a chunk of his salary to play elsewhere.
However given the length of the deal it is unlikely Taumalolo would leave unless he was gauranteed to make a similar amount at a rival club over a similar timeframe.
PONGA STILL ON DOLPHINS’ HIT LIST
Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins are still keeping a close eye on Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga, according to News Corp journalist Dean Ritchie.
Ponga is signed to the Knights until the end of 2024 but he has an option in his favour for the final two seasons — and doesn’t have a decision deadline.
It looked almost certain that the 23-year-old would take up those options after his dad, who is also his manager, revealed how much of an impact Andrew Johns is having on Ponga.
However, Ritchie toldSky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfastthat the Dolphins “haven’t given up” on luring the State of Origin fullback to Redcliffe.
“I checked around yesterday with some well-connected people at the Dolphins and they haven’t given up,” he said.
“There was a theory that Kalyn Ponga will definitely stay (at Newcastle) — I think he will stay — but certainly in the eyes of the Dolphins until he signs, they will keep on punching.
“How Newcastle fare this year is another indicator. If they make the finals that would make it more attractive to Kalyn.”
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MANLY PICK UP PROMISING TIGER
The Sea Eagles have swooped in and picked up an up-and-coming forward from the Wests Tigers.
Kelma Tuilagi confirmed to News Corpthat he will depart the club at the end of the season to take up a three-year deal with Manly.
The 23-year-old joined the Tigers last season after being part of the Storm set-up. The club developed him as a utility forward through New South Wales Cup feeder team the Magpies with the plan to use him off the bench in first grade.
He made his debut off the bench in Round 20 last season and featured in the final five rounds.
Tuilagi beat Luke Garner to get his first start in the second row in the Tigers’ Round 1 loss to the Storm.
“Madge (Michael Maguire) fought to bring me here from Melbourne. I had tears in my eyes telling him,” Tuilagi told News Corp.
“We came back from the Christmas break but Madge had Covid, so I had to wait another week before telling him in person.
“Holding it in was so hard. I didn’t want to do it on the phone. I wanted to tell him face-to-face because he was confident I would stay.”
The Tigers reportedly offered Tuilagi a new two-year deal, but Manly’s extra year was what convinced him to sign.
The Sea Eagles are yet to announced the signing.
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EARLY EXIT FOR TAUPAU?
Despite being linked with a move for Martin Taupau for the 2023 season, it has been reported the North Queensland Cowboys could fast track the move.
That’s according to the Wide World of Sports, which claims North Queensland is ‘desperate’ for more help up front, with Taupau a potential option.
With Taupau and the Sea Eagles certain to split when his contract runs out at the end of 2022, and Manly reportedly could be open to allowing him an early exit.
PEARCE REFUSES TO CLOSE NRL DOOR
Mitchell Pearce has refused to shut the door on a potential NRL return.
The 32-year-old made a shock move from the Knights to the Super League over the summer and is now playing for the Catalan Dragons.
Pearce played 309 NRL games across stints with the Roosters and Knights and is considered one of the best playmakers of the past decade.
“Look, I haven’t shut the door on anything,” Pearce said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“If you had of asked me six months ago whether I’d be in the south of France I wouldn’t have even imagined that.
“At the moment I’m 100 per cent committed to the Dragons, I’ve got a two-year contract with a third-year option.
“I’m really hungry to win a trophy here with the boys, that’s where my focus is.
“But who knows? I’m not going to shut anything off completely.”
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