The Rabbitohs are set to re-sign a trio of marquee stars, securing the backbone of the club for the long term.
Meanwhile, doubts have been cast over Reece Walsh’s immediate future and a mid-season switch could be on the cards.
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WALSH’S POTENTIAL MID-SEASON SWITCH
The immediate future of Warriors star Reece Walsh is in question after interim coach Stacey Jones swung the axe, dropping the rising star to the bench.
Having signed with the Broncos from 2023, the New Zealand club are looking to give other players more starting time.
As things stand, Walsh’s role is set to be reduced after the Round 19 team selections and The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis has made a huge suggestion.
Players have until the August 1 deadline to make mid-season moves — and Walsh could be the perfect candidate to make a short-term switch like Tevita Pangai Junior’s to the Panthers in 2021.
“If this is how they are going to do it, I wonder if this is the first sign of Reece leaving the club early,” Carayannis said on SEN 1170.
“We have a few weeks until August 1, is this any way for them to save money and ship it to Brisbane sooner?
“I don’t have any mail about it, but if they don’t play it, maybe it’s surplus for the rest of the year.”
Meanwhile, Craig Bellamy has a bad headache in the back after Ryan Papenhuyzen’s knee injury.
Andrew Voss wondered if Walsh could be a smokey to join the Storm for the rest of the season.
“What about the connection with Melbourne? With Ryan Papenhuyzen injured,” Voss said.
“It’s totally out of left field and a bit of a hustle and bustle, but could Melbourne get Walsh back like Penrith did with Tevita Pangai Jr last season?”
With Grant Anderson set to return in Round 19, his elbow injury just a few weeks ago forced Bellamy to admit the club would be looking for recruits.
A number of injuries outside their backs have left them struggling, like Reimis Smith and George Jennings, which means Storm bosses could be looking for more cover.
“It’s not as crazy as it looks because Melbourne are looking for an outside back,” Carayannis said.
“They’ve made several calls to many clubs, ideally for them it’s just someone who needs a home at the end of the year because they don’t have the cap for a full-back. first choice for a full year.
“It’s not out of the realm of impossibility.”
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RABBITOHS READY TO SECURE SPINE
The Rabbitohs are believed to be confident they will retain their trio of marquee players who will complete their contracts at the end of the 2023 season.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Damien Cook will stay at Redfern – and the reason Adam Reynolds was allowed to leave has been revealed.
Reynolds left the South Sydney club in 2021, with the Rabbitohs powerbrokers allowing their veteran half-back out to free up space to re-sign their long-term spine.
The Suds were heavily criticized for allowing Reynolds, as well as Jaydn Su’A and Dane Gagai to walk, but now the move is poised to secure the club’s future.
Between Walker, 32, Cook, 31, and Mitchell, 25, the extensions combined are worth around $6 million.
As it stands, the Souths No.1 has been offered a three-year extension, while Cook and Walker have been offered two-year contracts until the end of 2025.
According to reports, the extensions are far from complete but the club are confident they can keep their backbone intact for years to come.
Hooker Damien Cook previously revealed he was seeking a three-year extension on the Fox League podcast, hoping to end his career at Redfern.
“I want to finish my career here and I feel like I could play until I’m 35 or 36. I would love three years and stop after that just so I can finish with South Sydney,” Cook told the Fox League. Podcast.
“I’m confident and I’m very proud of the way I take care of myself and I would definitely make sure to keep delivering.
“I also understand leaving the shirt in the right place, where with the transition of players going through, I leave the club in a good position.”
Reports suggest that if Walker and Cook’s partnership continues to work towards the end of their new deals, they could be offered another extension.
Cook was an NRL latecomer, only becoming a first-year regular when he was 25, meaning he could continue to be part of the competition’s elite until his mid-30s .
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“At the moment I’m feeling pretty fresh and that’s probably because of the late start,” Cook said.
“Also the transition from playing a lot of reserve grade where my body was able to adapt to playing a lot against men when I was young.
“I haven’t been beaten as a freshman since I was 18 and I haven’t touched wood with any serious injuries in my career.
“I feel really good and would like to end my career in South Sydney.”
Meanwhile, young gun Lachlan Ilias is also set to be given a contract extension to remain Walker’s long-term partner.
TIGERS BAND BACK SET
The Tigers could reunite the entire cast of their first-place winning side in 2005 after former skipper Scott Prince offered to join the struggling club.
Following the announcement that Sheens would be taking over with Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah as assistants, Prince couldn’t help but reflect.
The 42-year-old, who is the only Tigers captain to lift the trophy, currently works for the Broncos as an assistant coach for the women’s team.
But now offered its services from 2023.
“The whole band is there – except the drummer,” Prince told WWOS.
“What we did in 2005 was the highlight of my career and we are all brothers for life.
“I have already discussed with Tim what I could do at the club.
“I still love the Tigers and it hurts to see what they’ve been through for the past few years.
“I love what I’m doing at the Broncos and they’ve been great with me, but if the Tigers had an opening to coach halftimes or something, I would definitely consider it.”
Prince has also endorsed Sheens as a mentor for Marshall, who is expected to take over as head coach in 2025.
“Tim is one of the smartest men in football and he will teach Benji a lot,” Prince said.
“It’s an exciting time and I think it will work out well for the club.”