Will Kodi Nikorima stick with the Brisbane Broncos? What about James Roberts? Will Latrell Mitchell replace Greg Inglis at Souths? Is Parramatta captain Clinton Gutherson headed home to Manly? These are the big questions that dominate NRL discussion circles this week, with 2 months to go until the deadline for all player transfers in 2019.
Nikorima’s move seems imminent, with the Broncos playmaker reportedly being heavily courted by the New Zealand Warriors. Nikorima, despite having lived in Brisbane since he was 12, is a New Zealander by birth and plays for the Kiwis in internationals. He has been stood down by the Broncos this week, officially for a calf strain but coach Anthony Siebold has said that it also gives him time to consider his future.
Meanwhile the retirement of Greg Inglis has meant that virtually every centre in the game is being linked with South Sydney as a replacement. The list is headlined, however, by Blues pairing Latrell Mitchell and James Roberts. Mitchell is often compared to Inglis in his early career, with the two sharing the same enormous frame and athleticism.
The Roosters, however, will fight tooth and nail for Mitchell and are very unlikely to grant him an early release. The retirement of Cooper Cronk at the end of the season will also beef up their war chest. Roberts looks more likely to leave Brisbane and follow coach Wayne Bennett to Souths, which could see the Broncos losing two representative stars this season.
Souths have denied approaching Roberts and have stated that they are not looking to replace Inglis this season. This has not dampened down the rumours, however.
Meanwhile Parramatta captain Clinton Gutherson has knocked back the Eel’s offer and decided to test himself on the open market, believing the club has refused to offer him what he is worth. Gutherson is a Manly junior, and the club are believed to be preparing an offer to bring him home.
Gutherson is a utility back, and the Sea Eagles are believed to be looking at him as a five-eighth to partner star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. However if Lachlan Croker continues playing well then Gutherson could replace Dylan Walker – who is the games highest paid centre but faces domestic assault charges and is currently stood down. Walker is off contract at the end of the year, and Manly are understood to be very seriously considering letting him go. They will certainly not offer him anywhere near what he is on now.