Transfer Whispers, Kyle Flanagan, Jayden Sullivan, trade deal, Bulldogs, Dragons, J’maine Hopgood, Eels, Panthers, Herbie Farnworth, Brisbane, Broncos, Selwyn Cobbo, fullback, wing, center
Bulldogs halfback Kyle Flanagan and his Dragons counterpart Jayden Sullivan have been offered in a potential player swap deal to help the two clubs’ playing problems.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the mooted player swap had put Shane Flanagan, potential Bulldogs coach and current member of the Dragons’ recruitment committee, in an awkward position.
Flanagan is considered the favorite to be named the Bulldogs’ next head coach, with a reunion with his son Kyle on the cards, but a player trade with Sullivan would end that possibility.
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Flanagan junior is under contract until the end of 2023, while Sullivan is signed with the Dragons until the end of 2025.
Sullivan, 20, is stuck behind Ben Hunt at the Dragons and may have to leave to get more playing time in his preferred halfback position after playing mostly hooker off the bench in his 10 games in the NRL to date.
Flanagan, 23, has scored six tries and 288 points in his 49 NRL games but has only played 20 games since joining the Bulldogs in 2021 from the Roosters.
Flanagan has failed to cement his place at halfback for the Bulldogs and there are doubts whether he is the club’s long-term solution to the No.7.
Hunt is likely to re-sign with the Dragons and has shown that he prefers playing in the No.7 jersey rather than hooker.
This would prevent Sullivan from playing halfback if he stayed and Flanagan from doing the same if he joined the Dragons in a trade deal.
EELS READY TO POACH PANTHER GUN
The Parramatta Eels have reportedly poached Penrith Panthers young gun J’maine Hopgood in a bid to boost their depleted forward stocks for 2023.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Adrian Proszenko has revealed on SEN radio that the Eels are set to announce Hopgood’s signing imminently.
“I think they (Parramatta eels) will be trumpeting something very soon,” Proszenko told SEN radio.
“We know they are looking to bolster their stocks going forward, with the departure of Isaiah Papali’I and Marata Niukore. There’s also a small question mark over whether Ryan Matterson will stick around for the long haul.
“The club are very keen to keep him, but they obviously have holes to fill, and I would tell you one of those holes will be filled by J’maine Hopgood of their arch-rivals the Penrith Panthers.
“In the short time he has been in the top tier, Brad Arthur has seen more than enough to think he is someone who will add value to the team.
“They’ve been in talks for a while. There were a few other clubs who were interested. The Bulldogs were pretty keen when Trent Barrett was there, but he’ll end up at Parramatta.
The 23-year-old has played seven games for the Panthers since making his debut in 2021.
BRONCOS GUN WANTS A FULL BACK SPOT
Broncos young gun Herbie Farnworth has said he wants the No. 1 jersey after signing a new one-year contract to stay at Red Hill.
The 19-year-old’s ambition puts him in direct competition with Broncos sensation Selwyn Cobbo, who is seen as a future fullback, and Te Maire Martin who stepped into the fullback role following the hamstring injury of Tesi Niu.
Farnworth, who was sued by several NRL clubs including the Dolphins before signing a new contract, also began working one-on-one with Broncos legend Darius Boyd in a bid to hone his skills in back.
“We have agreed on the one-year contract and full-back is the position I want to play in the future,” Farnworth told the Courier Mail.
“I spoke to ‘Kevvie’ (coach Kevin Walters) about it, I would like to play full-back next year and learn that position.
“This year I’m focusing on the center and winning games and helping the team.”
Broncos legend and club board member Darren Lockyer said signing Farnworth was a validation of the improvements made by the club.
“Herbie at the start of the year, we were keen to retain him,” he told Wide World of Sports’ QLDER.
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“We knew the Dolphins were chasing him, as did other clubs.
“I think we were keen to secure him in pre-season – he wanted to wait and I think it was really to see if he thinks the club is going in the right direction.
Lockyer, however, issued a warning to Farnworth about his candidacy to play fullback.
“There’s an ambition there on Herbie’s part to want to play back and I think the club are ready to give him an opportunity, maybe in the off-season, to train there and try to grow.
“He signed a one-year contract. There’s no guarantee Herbie will be No. 1 next year.
“He’s a quality player that he’s going to at least play left center for the Broncos until he comes in for his next contract negotiations.”
Rugby league legend Laurie Daley, meanwhile, was adamant the Broncos should consider Selwyn Cobbo as their long-term fullback.
“I think depending on how he (Farnworth) is doing, he might just be the long-term guard for the Broncos, but you’ve got a guy there, Selwyn Cobbo,” Daley said. Great sports breakfast from Sky Racing.
“I don’t know where Selwyn Cobbo will end up. But he has the skills required to play at the back and he has the skills required to play in the centre.
“Where he’s playing and the way he’s developing at the moment, he’s getting a reputation that’s earned by his talent but also by what you do on the pitch. He could be in any position in that line. background for the Broncos.
“He will either be more effective in one or in crosses, so what do you do with him? If he has his heart set on playing at the back as well, you look at him and Herbie Farnworth and I would probably look at both and leave, Cobbo for me is the one I stay with.
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” He is 19 years old. he’s a huge kid and he’s only going to get bigger and stronger and you see him becoming this Latrell Mitchell type player. Genre Greg Inglis. Speed, size, catch, defend. Whatever you are looking for, it has it.
“Herbie Farnworth is playing good football at the moment in the centers, but for me personally, if Selwyn Cobbo wants to play at the back and has all his heart, I would give him the first opportunity on Herbie.”
With future Maroon Selwyn Cobbo an obstacle to Farnworth’s full-back intentions, the 22-year-old is delighted with a tough contest for the number one jumper of the 2023 pre-season.
“I didn’t think of that one,” Farnworth said.
“Selwyn Cobbo is enjoying it on the wing at the moment, I haven’t spoken to him about it, but he’s a good mate of mine and it will be a good battle if he wants to be at the back.
“Darius is one of the best full-backs ever, having him here, being close to him and learning from him was definitely a big sell. I’m pretty keen to work with him in pre-season (on the game rear).
“Physically, I would be suitable for this position. I played this position in my juniors and since I was 18 or 19 I played on the edges. I would be ready to work hard with ‘Darbs’ and the coaching staff, I could be a good defender for this club.
“If Selwyn raises his hand for the spot, it will be a good pre-season battle for the full-back spot for sure.”