Alexander furious after Dolphins poached young Panthers gun

Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins have dealt a blow to the recruiting front by poaching young Panthers gunslinger Isaiya Katoa and Penrith legend Greg Alexander is angry at the move.

Katoa, a star of Penrith’s SG Ball Cup side, is set to be announced by the Dolphins on Friday on a three-year contract and is likely to be one of their starting halves when the team go. expansion will enter the NRL next year.

The Panthers are furious at losing one of their best young prospects and Alexander, who is the club’s vice-chairman, believes it is another example of why the NRL needs to fix its controversial transfer system of players.

“Very disappointing when you lose a player you want to keep, especially a junior like him,” he said on SEN Radio on Friday morning.

“It doesn’t often happen that you really want to keep a junior and he decides to go somewhere else but that’s what happened.

“It caused problems within the club. You develop juniors and they get poached. “

Alexander said Katoa, whose older brother Sione has played in the NRL since 2015 for Penrith and Canterbury, was developed through the ways of Penrith and “is playing very well at the moment for the Panthers SG Ball team”.

“They had a few games and he was the star in both games.”

The Dolphins have been criticized for targeting veteran players in the twilight of their careers at the start of their recruiting campaign after signing Kenny and Jesse Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi from Storm and Rabbitohs prop Mark Nicholls.

The acquisition of Katoa gives their building roster a much-needed injection of youthfulness.

Alexander said that apart from a small nominal sum which is paid to the club which develops a player, there is little incentive for development clubs like Penrith in cases like this to invest heavily in a young player for see him walk to another team.

He said he could understand the business side of the Dolphins’ perspective that they wanted to sign the young star and didn’t blame Katoa for looking elsewhere with Origin duo Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai locked up long term as halves of Penrith.

But he thinks the NRL needs to institute a system where there is a reward for clubs who put in the time and effort to turn young players into first-year students but lose them to other teams who don’t develop skills. young talents.

“You don’t get paid for the money you invest in a player,” he said.

“There is a lot of movement between clubs with junior players. I say the league should reward clubs for youth development.

Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher is expected to meet with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo to discuss the matter.

Abdo said on Thursday that the league was looking at ways to change the player transfer system with clubs currently able to sign recruits from other teams more than a year before joining their new team.

He is negotiating with the RLPA for a new collective bargaining agreement that will begin next season with the next round of funding based on the new broadcast rights agreements.

“As we enter this new period from 2023, we have the possibility to put in place a new system, so I think things will be different from next year,” he said.

“Exactly what they look like, I can’t tell you yet.”

There is a strong push for a transfer window or multiple trading windows within each year.

There have already been 16 player changes announced for 2023, affecting 12 club rosters.

The Eels already have five players leaving next year – Isaiah Papali’i (Tigers) and Marata Niukore (Warriors) as well as Stone, Mahoney and Kaufusi and have signed Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson.

Melbourne have lost four stars – Kaufusi and the Bromwich brothers to the Dolphins, and Roosters-linked Kiwi international Brandon Smith (Storm).

Sports Grp2

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