One of Brett Kimmorley’s first acts as interim Wests Tigers coach was to call Michael Maguire and let him know he had no part in the coach’s disappearance.
Channel Nine cameras captured Kimmorley arriving at the club’s headquarters in Concord just hours after Maguire was sacked and left the establishment for the last time on Tuesday.
This column was told that ‘Noddy’ called Maguire to let him know he only learned of his promotion the day the coach was sacked. Maguire had no qualms about Kimmorley’s involvement.
Interest of Eels Lodge
The Parramatta Eels have inquired about Matt Lodge’s services for the remainder of the season.
Based on what they believe to be Lodge’s current market value, the NRL has told the Eels that it will cost them around $20,000 per game (nearly $250,000 for the rest of the season) over the salary cap for Lodge services.
This number will go down with each passing week. The Eels can see the value in adding muscle to an already intimidating pack, but they don’t want to shell out more than $200,000 to do so.
But perhaps signing Lodge five weeks from the Finals, as the Panthers did with Tevita Pangai Jr last year, could be money better spent. The Eels have until August 1 to reach an agreement.
Lodge came through the ranks at the Wests Tigers alongside Mitchell Moses and Nathan Brown and shares a close bond with them.
Knights moves for Hastings
We hear Newcastle have been in talks about possibly doing a play for Jackson Hastings next year.
Hastings management shares a close relationship with Knights head of recruiting Clint Zammit. The Knights made a play for Luke Brooks last summer, but the halfback was not released from the Tigers.
It will be interesting to see what the new Tigers coach thinks of Hastings. He’s become something of a cult hero among Tigers fans but, as we know, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
He’s making around $375,000 this year, but that drops to around $500,000 for the final season of his two-year contract.
Brennan’s way out of Newcastle
Garth Brennan’s return to the NRL didn’t last very long. The former Gold Coast Titans manager recently ended his job with the Knights, where he was responsible for looking after the club’s youth courses and development.
Brennan apparently disagreed with some people at the club about how the Knights should operate, deciding to quit due to his different view of Newcastle.
Tigers Brush Staines
We reported last week that Charlie Staines’ future is up in the air at Penrith as his manager pursues a regular job in the NRL.
It turns out his manager phoned the Wests Tigers to see if they would be interested in Staines’ services as fullback for next year.
The Tigers appear to be invested in Daine Laurie at the moment, recently meeting with his agent to discuss an extension.
Clubs uneasy over Wayne turmoil in Tonga
There are a few clubs a little worried about Wayne Bennett volunteering his time to help Dean Young with the Tonga national team later this month.
While Bennett has enjoyed a strong relationship with Young since their time as a player and manager at St George Illawarra a decade ago, some clubs believe Bennett has an ulterior motive.
There are some in the game who believe Bennett will use his time in the Tonga camp to try to boost his recruitment campaign for the Dolphins next year.
Watch State of Origin exclusively live and free on Channel 9 and 9Now.