The Canterbury Bulldogs are facing a difficult decision regarding the future of their young center duo, Paul Alamoti and Jake Averillo. Both players are off contract for the 2024 season, and with the Bulldogs already having one of the highest-paid players in the NRL in Matt Burton, it is becoming increasingly challenging to manage their salary cap effectively. To prioritise their search for a top-class halfback, the Bulldogs have reluctantly given permission to Alamoti and Averillo to explore other opportunities in the market. This means that one of the talented centers, most likely Alamoti, will likely be moving on from the Bulldogs at the end of the season.
Despite this impending loss, the Bulldogs have been steadily improving their roster over the last couple of seasons. After enduring some tough times, the club is now becoming more competitive and aiming to solidify their position in the NRL. However, with the salary cap limitations they are facing, tough decisions like this must be made to ensure the overall balance of the team.
In other news, the South Sydney Rabbitohs have successfully negotiated an immediate release for promising center Ethan Ferguson from the Newcastle Knights. Coincidentally, Ferguson is the cousin of Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell. While Ferguson had initially signed with the Rabbitohs for the next season, the club is keen to develop him further and have him spend the next few months playing in the lower grades. This will allow him to familiarise himself with the club and prepare for a fulltime development contract, vying for a spot in the top 30 squad.
Another interesting development involves the recent release of Joe Ofahengaue from the Wests Tigers to the Parramatta Eels. Many fans have been eager to understand the reasoning behind this mid-season transfer. Speculations suggest that the Tigers‘ decision may be influenced by their plans to change the playing position of in-form Englishman John Bateman. Despite having predominantly played as an edge forward throughout his career, it is rumored that the Tigers are considering turning Bateman into a middle forward. The acclimatisation process for Bateman has been smooth so far, with his arrival coinciding with an upturn in the team’s form. This strategic move and shift in positional play could be a contributing factor to allowing Ofahengaue to leave the Tigers.
In a potential positional change for the Manly Sea Eagles, center Brad Parker is being touted as a candidate to move to the back row in the 2024 season. Parker, although not a superstar, is known for his hardworking and dedicated approach to the game. He possesses the ability to hit holes in attack, along with an astute defensive understanding. His consistent performances and positive image have endeared him to fans at Brookvale. With an abundance of upcoming talent in the backline, but a dearth of players providing consistency in the back row, the 26-year-old Parker is being considered for a change of scenery in the off-season.
As the off-contract period looms and player movements become a focal point of discussion, rugby league fans can expect further developments and changes in team dynamics leading up to the 2024 season.