Sea Eagles eye Luke swoop
ISSAC Luke has openly pleaded to continue his NRL career on Twitter and now the former Kiwi Test rake is set to be thrown a lifeline with Manly leading the charge for his services.
For a time there, it looked like Luke's final NRL appearance may have been against the Raiders on Saturday.
While the Warriors don't want to keep the 32-year-old, Luke is expected to revive his NRL career with three Sydney clubs chasing him.
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Manly are frontrunners to land Luke while Parramatta and the Tigers are also considering making him an offer.
Sup guys. I haven’t retired although I feel like I’m getting too old. 😂😂😂😂 I just haven’t got a club for next yet. But my manager wife and myself are looking for a club. Any takers 😂😂 have one more game for the warriors. And that’s all that matters right now. Love y’all ❤️— issac luke (@issacluke_14) August 30, 2019
The Sea Eagles' want a back-up for boom youngster Manase Fainu after allowing Api Koroisau to link with Penrith.
The Tigers also have uncertainty around dummy-half following Robbie Farah's retirement and Jacob Liddle's long-term injury but have little room left in their salary cap.
Luke has played 270 top-grade games after making his debut for South Sydney in 2007.
Interest for Newcastle's Danny Levi has again picked up after Koroisau secured his future.
MELBOURNE are set to be hit with a breach notice following an interchange bungle late in their game against Manly last Saturday night.
Interchange forward Brandon Smith ran on to the field to replace Dale Finucane without an interchange card in the final minutes of the game at Lottoland. It was Melbourne's eighth and final replacement.
When Storm realised their error, they brought Smith from the field before he then handed the interchange card to the replacement official.
Storm did not field an extra player and were well in control of the match at the time of the error.
TRIPLE TREAT FOR RABBITS FANS
SOUTH Sydney will be represented in the finals in all three grades for the first time in 30 years.
The Rabbitohs' NSW Rugby League sides will kickstart their finals campaign this weekend in the respective Canterbury Cup and Jersey Flegg competitions.
Souths take on North Sydney in the Cup and St George Illawarra in Flegg. The NRL side will start its finals campaign next week.
South Sydney have not fielded a stand-alone side in the NSWRL reserve grade competition since 2006.
CHEERS TO LEGEND HORNBY
THE Dragons will bow out with barely a whimper and farewell long-serving skipper Gareth Widdop.
Another Red V great who will exit the club with little to no fanfare is assistant coach Ben Hornby, whose two-decade association with the Dragons ends on Saturday.
The 2010 premiership skipper and games record-holder has been told he won't be at the Dragons next year.
The club is yet to decide if Dean Young will remain as Paul McGregor's assistant. There is a huge clean-out of the Dragons' support staff happening.
NRL match officials will wear purple socks in the final round in support of Australia's leading child protection charity Bravehearts. It will be the 11th consecutive year referee Gavin Badger (above) and his colleagues have supported the charity. Why purple, you ask? It's the colour of courage.
NO FOX TROT FOR BENNETT
WAYNE Bennett was a surprise no-show - or was he? - when Fox League recorded its finals promotions at the Hordern Pavilion recently.
Bennett refused to do the promotional shoot, claiming the Rabbitohs had yet to qualify for the finals. They, in fact, had qualified for the NRL top eight, prompting some to wonder whether the true reason was because the Rabbitohs were coming off a loss to Melbourne.
Manly's mad scientist, Des Hasler, could not do enough to help make the shot work, while coach Trent Robinson and his Roosters were other star performers. UK rock band Bring Me The Horizon provided the soundtrack.
SEMI HAS THE FINAL SAY
NRL clubs may be circling but any hopes of Semi Radradra making a return to rugby league are premature despite the flyer having "unfinished business" in the NRL.
Radradra caused a stir this week when he met Bulldogs officials among suggestions he could be walking back into the game which helped make him a superstar.
Any NRL comeback though is at least a season away according to his agent George Christodoulou as Radradra has a jam-packed rugby union schedule. "Semi still has plenty of goals in rugby," Christodoulou said.
"He is focused on this month's World Cup and wants to represent Fiji in sevens at next year's Olympics. He also has another season left on his contract with Bordeaux. He is really enjoying it there.
"He was in Sydney for a short time so we took the opportunity to meet and discuss his future. Semi loved his time in the NRL and loves rugby league.
"He is only 27 and left as the game's best winger. He has now established himself as one of the best centres in world rugby. I think part of him feels like he has unfinished business in the NRL but, at the same time, he is loving playing rugby.
"He has numerous options flooding in for 2021, so we will take our time to assess things and make the best decision for Semi, his family and his career."
THE Knights have been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently but star players Connor Watson and Kalyn Ponga have been doing some good things off the field.
Watson reached out to a long-time Knights fan this week who had been bullied by online trolls. Watson thanked the fan for his support and told him he should ignore the vitriol - his message reducing the Knights fan to tears.
Housemate Ponga also played his part to send a young Knights fan home happy. The family travelled to Darwin last week to watch the Knights play and the youngster wrote a sign asking for Ponga's headgear. Ponga replied in kind, giving and signing his match-worn jersey.
ROOSTERS TO LOCK UP MANU
ROOSTERS strike centre Joey Manu is close to signing a long-term deal in a boost for the club before the finals.
Manu is not off-contract until the end of the season but the Roosters have tabled an attractive three-year deal for the 23-year-old Kiwi representative.
Keeping Manu at the Roosters would be a great start to locking down their roster. The club has a host of big names who are free to negotiate with rival clubs in November.
Clubs are already lining up to sign Latrell Mitchell, while Siosiua Taukeiaho is also in line for an upgrade.
Co-captain Jake Friend, prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Nat Butcher and Lachlan Lam are also off-contract. And the deals of veterans Brett Morris, Ryan Hall and Mitch Aubusson expire at the end of next year.
SHOOSH: Which player was told he was going to make his NRL debut, only for the club to back out at the last minute?
SHOOSH II: Which clubs met with a host of English Super League player agents this week?
SPOTTED: AFL officials in and out of the NRL's bunker at Eveleigh in recent weeks in the lead-up to announcing their own version for next year.
ADDO-CARR REALLY MOTORS
JOSH Addo-Carr's speed continues to amaze.
During the Fox League promo, the Melbourne Storm flyer, who stayed an extra hour to make sure the network had all it needed, hit full stride while the Fox Rover kept pace beside him.
The Rover tops out at 40km/h.
THUGS COP BELTING
FROM the 'they wish they had their moment again' file …
A small band of brave Bendigo thugs stumbled across a couple of unfamiliar faces walking the street last Friday and thought they would take it upon themselves to remove the two young men of their money.
The two "victims" were unheralded middleweight Michael Zerafa and a close mate on their way to the press conference the day before Zerafa would stunningly dethrone Jeff Horn in the middleweight division.
Street fights can be bad for the knuckles for pro fighters, particularly the day before such an important fight, so Zerafa's mate took care of biz.
LISTEN! Matty Johns and Paul Kent are joined by Balmain champion Steve 'Blocker' Roach, talking up the big eighth place battle at Leichhardt Oval Sunday, look at some of Manly's best ever hit men and the time Kenty got completely jammed by Mark Geyer.