Souths shut down any George Burgess switch

George Burgess will remain at South Sydney for 2019 with the Rabbitohs indicating they won’t release the star prop despite him being linked to Parramatta.

Off-contract at the end of the season, Burgess is rumoured to be the target of an Eels side hopeful of beefing up their pack.

There was some suggestion on Wednesday a move might be extradited to round one of this year, with the Eels still having a significant chunk of their salary cap still at their disposal.

But the Rabbitohs have put paid to the idea, insisting there has been no request for a release and Burgess won’t be going anywhere.

“George Burgess is contracted to the South Sydney Rabbitohs until the end of the 2019 season and will be playing for (Souths) throughout the 2019 season,” the club said in a statement.

“Neither George Burgess nor his management have requested a release from the remainder of his contract and

George has indicated that he wants to play for the Rabbitohs in 2019.”

George is the only Burgess brother not to have signed on long-term at the Rabbitohs, with Sam and Tom locked in until the end of 2023.

The 26-year-old has also been linked to Brisbane this off-season, with the English prop expected to test his value on the open market later this year.

He is arguably the best front-rower off contract next season, along with Melbourne’s Christian Welch and Brisbane’s Joe Ofahengaue.

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Source:: SportsNews

    

Watene-Zelezniak still eyes Panthers’ No.1

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak insists he still has a future in Penrith’s No.1 jersey even if Dylan Edwards is named fullback for their season-opener against Parramatta.

Brought to the Panthers as a young fullback during Ivan Cleary’s first stint as coach, Watene-Zelezniak played 12 games as custodian last season while Edwards was injured.

He also starred at fullback on New Zealand’s tour of England at the end of last year but has been restricted to light duties for the majority of the pre-season following knee surgery and won’t play until round one.

Meanwhile Edwards has been named fullback for Penrith’s first pre-season trial against South Sydney on Saturday in his return from a serious shoulder injury.

And while halfback Nathan Cleary predicted this week Edwards would win the spot for round one given he’s spent the pre-season at the back, Watene-Zelezniak said he still hoped to play there in the future after returning to training on the wing.

“Fullback is what I want to play but I’m always for what’s best for the team so I can handle that,” Watene-Zelezniak, who played fullback and centre growing up, told AAP.

“(Cleary) knows that I prefer fullback.

“He also knows that I love playing rugby league and I’ll do whatever it takes for the team to win and if that’s on the wing that’s what I’ll do.

“It’s just practising wherever you can because it’s a long season and things change.”

Watene-Zelezniak led New Zealand for the first time last summer but doesn’t expect to be a chief contender for the Penrith captaincy.

Cleary is yet to announce his skipper for 2019, with Isaah Yeo and James Maloney considered favourites after the role was shared last year following the mid-season retirement of Peter Wallace.

Regardless, Watene-Zelezniak wants to become more of a leader within the side.

“I will bring that back here and try to help as many people as I can through my experience,” he said.

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Source:: SportsNews

    

Roberts to lead in Titans’ return

Tyrone Roberts will captain a young Gold Coast trial team in his return to Titans colours a year after leaving the NRL club.

The 27-year-old playmaker has been named skipper by coach Garth Brennan for Saturday’s clash with North Queensland on the Sunshine Coast.

The game will mark his second stint with the club after cutting short his time with English Super League outfit Warrington due to homesickness late last year.

The captaincy nod caps a big week for Roberts, who claimed the Preston Campbell Medal for his performance in the Indigenous All Stars’ 34-14 win over the Maori All Stars in Melbourne last Friday.

“It’s great to have that responsibility,” he said.

“I consider myself a leader in the group anyway. For the boys, I’m a player they can come to if they need anything and I’m just honoured to play this weekend and have a go.”

Brennan has left out several NRL regulars from the 26-man squad to face the Cowboys including Tyrone Peachey, Nathan Peats, Kevin Proctor, Jai Arrow and Michael Gordon.

Roberts, whose pre-season started late due to a turf toe injury picked up in England, said he’d never contemplated sitting out Saturday’s trial after his All-Stars’ exploits.

“I’d rather play than train,” he said.

“You learn a lot more from playing with the players beside you than training. I’m honoured to play. Being captain is a bonus; I can’t wait.”

The squad includes a number of local under-20s graduates chasing a first grade berth while returnee centre Brian Kelly will play his first senior game for the club after two seasons at Manly.

Roberts says the deeper talent pool is the biggest change he’s noticed since his departure for England.

“There’s a lot of youth. A lot of people that are hungry. They want to play and train hard, it’s good to have that hunger in the team,” he said.

TITANS TO FACE NORTH QUEENSLAND

Jesse Arthars, Anthony Don, Brenko Lee, Brian Kelly, Phillip Sami, Dylan Phythian, Tyrone Roberts (capt), Jack Stockwell, Mitch Rein, Moeaki Fotuaika, Bryce Cartwright, Will Matthews, Max King. Interchange: Christian Hazard, Morgan Boyle, Jai Whitbread, Leilani Latu, John Palavi, Dairus Farmer, Jaxson Paulo, Kai O’Donnell, Ben Thomas, Ioana Seiuli, Kea Pere, Treymain Spry, Jacob Hind.

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Source:: SportsNews