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Transfer Whispers, Jeremiah Nanai, Cowboys, Dylan Brown, contract extensions, transfer news, Parramatta Eels signing, re-signing, Isaiah Papali’I backflip

Cowboys young gun Jeremiah Nanai has signalled his intentions to remain in North Queensland — as a multimillion-dollar bidding war looms.

The 19-year-old inked a one-year extension earlier this season, keeping him under Todd Payten until the end of 2023.

The Maroons star will come off contract come November 1 and will have no shortage off big-money offers, but according to The Daily Telegraph Nanai will soon begin negotiations with the Cowboys hoping to ink a long-term deal.

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So far this season Nanai has scored 16 tries in only 17 games and was a key figure in Queensland’s huge Origin triumph under Billy Slater.

“My contract was about to end so I wanted to get something sorted out for next year so just did the one-year deal,” Nanai said.

“I would love to stay here long-term. When it comes November 1, we can negotiate with the Cowboys and look to stay longer.

“It would definitely be hard to leave. The Cows have been good to me. They have been a good club for myself.

“I’ve got family close by, just four hours away. The missus is here too. It would be hard to make a move somewhere else, especially to a big city.

“I’ll leave it to November 1. I just want to focus on the Cowboys this year.”

Despite Nanai’s hopes to remain in Townsville, Cowboys head of football Micheal Luck conceded the club won’t be able to match offers worth a million-per-season.

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Rivals south of the Cowboys are expected to table mega deals for the teenager, and Luck is hoping Nanai’s roots in Cairns will be a significant factor.

“If there is going to be a club that comes up with a long-term offer worth $1 million bucks a year, it will be difficult to keep him,” Luck said.

“But Jeremiah has put some roots down on and off the field here and I would like to think he is a big part of what we are trying to build over the next few years.

“Without having any formal discussions with his management as yet, we’d like to think we can put forward a competitive offer.

“Both parties were happy with the one year extension so we could get a better gauge of how quickly he had come on. He has done really well and exceeded everyone’s expectations with what he has done on the field.

“I don’t think he can play the type of footy he is if he wasn’t happy. This club was built for North Queensland players to represent their home region in the NRL without having to travel too far from where they were brought up.

“Jeremiah has been in Cairns since his pre-teen years and we would like to think he will want to stay here for a long time to come yet.”

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TIGERS SIGH OF RELIEF

Isaiah Papali’I’s management has reportedly confirmed the Eels backrower will honour his Tigers contract, ending speculation surrounding his future.

According to the SMH, Tim Sheens, who will take the coaching reins in 2023, spoke to agent Dan O’Loughlin regarding Papali’i’s doubts.

The merger club were reportedly assured the 23-year-old would land in Leichhardt for the club’s pre-season training alongside star recruit Apisai Koroisau.

Papali’i previously explained he wants to have “no regrets” regarding his decision.

“Obviously people ask me about it, just even on the street or family and friends are hitting me up but that’s kind of for my manager look after and even if I don’t stay here or I do go next year, I want to make sure that this year has no regrets,” he said to 9 News.

When asked why he had doubts about making the move, Papali’i said it was Maguire’s axing that made him question his decision.

“I think it was the coaching axing that went on,” Papali’i said.

“When I did sign it was talking to Madge — he’s an awesome coach. That rattled the cage a bit and I guess you have to have those conversations and I guess that was a massive factor for me.”

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Papali’i will be a key player for the Tigers, who are hoping to rebuild under Sheens, Marshall and Farrah’s tutelage.

“The only thing I will say is I’m looking forward to coaching him,” Sheens said.

Sheens’ Tigers rebuild is underway, with reports suggesting the club will make a play for former Raiders backrower John Bateman.

The Tigers have also reportedly spoken to Papali’i’s management regarding their vision for the club under the new coaching structure.

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BROWN’S LUCRATIVE CONTRACT TALKS

Parramatta star Dylan Brown’s management has reportedly urged the table a lucrative contract extension to keep the young gun at the Eels as rivals circle.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the 22-year-old’s agent met with Parramatta powerbrokers this week as the five-eighth was reportedly labelled a retention priority.

While Brown’s management is hard at work, the New Zealand international expressed his desire to stay out of any negotiations until after this year’s World Cup.

“My manager would have communicated that (to the Eels) to leave me alone until the season is done,” Brown said.

“I just don’t like it. I’d rather not sort that stuff out (during the season).

“Any distraction is a bad distraction when you are playing footy.”

Brown’s preference to put extensions talks on hold could worry Eels bosses, with rivals being able to make a play for the in-form playmaker come November 1.

Reports suggest Brown’s preference is to stay in Sydney’s west and the Eels mass player exodus has left them in a strong position to offer Brown an upgraded deal.

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Brown has enjoyed the best season of his four-year career in 2022, recording 14 try assists with a new-found confidence.

The young gun explained coach Brad Arthur has been instilling that confidence in him, and fans have been treated a full display of his running game this year.

“The last couple of years … I have always been, not afraid, but I would second guess myself,” Brown said.

“I feel like you have got to go with your gut feeling sometimes and just be confident in what you are doing.

“You’re not getting selected in an NRL team to second guess yourself and not be confident.

“I’m in the team for a reason. Brad is trying to drive that into me. I feel like the more ball I get the better the left edge will go.”

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