Guess who’s back, back again. Isaac’s back, tell your friends.
The wheels are well and truly in motion for controversial player agent Isaac Moses to be given the green light to return from gardening leave as a fully accredited agent.
For the record, Moses has already been suspended once and deregistered once over the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal and more recently coaching Tim Mannah to provide false and misleading evidence around the Parramatta Eels salary cap rorting.
But with the NRL in the midst of major reform aimed at cleaning up the system and banning agents caught breaking the rules for life, head office is set to deem the Moses 13-month plus ban sufficient and start with a clean slate.
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Moses was officially deregistered on February 5 last year after a protracted battle with the NRL but it’s common knowledge it’s been business as usual for one of the most powerful agents in the game.
Technically, Moses has been banned from directly dealing with all 16 NRL clubs since the beginning of last year.
But in reality the deregistered agent’s company Cove Agency is still one of the most influential in the game and has been as busy as ever with a list of more than 100 NRL players on the books.
Moses simply handed over the reins of the operation to his cousin – Stephen Moses – the brother of Eels halfback Mitchell Moses.
This has frustrated the NRL no end which is why head office is currently working with leading agents Steve “Chimes” Gillis and David Riolo to overhaul the existing system.
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PUSH TO BAN RORTING AGENTS FOR LIFE
The NRL wants life bans for agents caught rorting the system but needs the agents to also agree.
There’s also a push for managers to be banned from handling the affairs of coaches and players.
Moses currently takes care of negotiations for Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien and North Queensland coach Todd Payten but under the new system once their existing contracts expire this will no longer be the case.
Moses has campaigned heavily behind-the-scenes using some of the most influential figures in the game as character references in relation to his case.
The deregistered agent has also met with ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo to push his claims.
If the NRL and the agents can agree on a new system then fellow de-registered agent Gavin Orr is also expected to get the green light to return.
V’landys and Abdo will meet with Gillis and Riolo on Thursday for the latest round of talks about the new reforms.
COWBOYS YOUNG GUN EMERGES AS ORIGIN BOLTER
IT’S very early doors but the new Queensland brains trust have already got their eye on Cowboys young gun forward Jeremiah Nanai as a potential bolter for this year’s State of Origin series.
The North Queensland local junior, 19, caught fire against the Broncos with a hat-trick in round three and is regarded as one of the best emerging backrowers in the NRL.
Sure it’s a crack field of backrowers for the Maroons with incumbents Felise Kaufusi, Kurt Capewell, Tino Fa’suamaleaui, Jai Arrow and David Fifita all guaranteed to be pressing to play for the Maroons.
Nanai has only played seven NRL matches but has caught the eye of good judges in the game and if his form holds is guaranteed to be in the mix for a rapid State of Origin ascension.
The Maroons announced their new dream team coaching line-up this week with head coach Billy Slater to be joined by assistants Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston.
Thurston is also an assistant coach at North Queensland so is well up-to-speed in terms of the trajectory Nanai is on.
The smart money has the off-contract Nanai remaining at the Cowboys with the club in the final stages of trying to close the negotiation.
The major element of the deal remaining is how long the teenage rookie opts to sign for. The Cowboys are pushing for a three-year deal but they may have to settle for 12-months and then re-assess where Nanai is at.
SOUTHS SEEK REVENGE OVER GF INSULT
It’s great to see plenty of back-and-forth banter between premiers Penrith and South Sydney in the lead-up to Friday night’s grand final rematch.
Rabbitohs forward Jai Arrow has made it well and truly known he’ll be looking to target Panthers champion halfback Nathan Cleary when the Clive Churchill Medallist returns for his first NRL appearance this season.
Good luck given how resilient Cleary showed he was leading the Panthers to the premiership last season with a busted right shoulder.
Then really interesting grudge match will be whether Arrow can find Panthers game-breaker Villiame Kikau to try and square up for being rubbed out of last year’s grand final.
Arrow is an old school NRL forward in that he embraces the rivalries and challenges thrown down by opposition teams.
The Bunnies backrower and Kikau will start the match on opposite sides of the field so the question will be whether Arrow can somehow make it personal by finding the Panthers big unit over the course of 80 minutes.
The Bunnies haven’t forgotten the way Kikau mocked them with a rendition of “Glory, glory to South Sydney” in the Panthers celebrations after the Grand Final.
The Panthers look set to have a huge win with Dally M prop of the year James Fisher-Harris a guaranteed starter to return from a shoulder injury.
NSW State of Origin forward Liam Martin is also a good chance of making a comeback from a leg injury giving the Panthers engine room an ominous line-up.
SHARKS CLOSE TO LOCKING IN BACKROW STAR
The Cronulla Sharks are inching closer to landing the signature of backrower Briton Nikora.
Despite arch-rivals St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers showing interest, Nikora’s negotiations are progressing reasonably well with the Kiwi Test forward having started the season in cracking form.
The Sharks have got a huge soirée planned to celebrate hard-working front rower Aiden Tolman reaching the milestone of 300 games against Newcastle on Friday night.
In further proof nice guys don’t always finish last, Tolman will chalk up the milestone in front of what’s expected to be a sold-out Shark Park playing for his third NRL club.
When new Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon signed on to take the head coaching position at Cronulla last year, re-signing Tolman was one of his first moves.
The unsung forward, 33, has played in grand finals with Melbourne Storm and Canterbury-Bankstown and is one of the NRL’s most reliable forwards.
BAZ SPOTTED IN SEA EAGLES SHEDS
Spotted having a beer in the Manly dressing rooms on Sunday night was ex-Sea Eagles coach and current Bulldogs head coach Trent Barrett.
The Bulldogs round three loss to the Sea Eagles was Baz’s first trip back to Brookvale Oval since finishing up with Manly at the end of 2018.
The Canterbury-Bankstown coach still remains great mates with plenty of people at the Sea Eagles including the club’s two best players in Tom and Jake Trbojevic.
The Sea Eagles have done a cracking job with the redevelopment of Four Pines Park spending $2.5 million on the relaying of the turf.
The result is the surface is now more akin to walking on carpet – even with the Sydney weather dumping a deluge of rain all over it throughout Manly’s win over the Bulldogs.