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NRL NEWS: Trio making immediate switch, Dolphins nab Panther, Eels trainer to be fined, Dally M wide open

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9th May, 2022
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South Sydney have strengthened their spine by signing Warriors veteran Kodi Nikorima immediately for the rest of the 2022 season.

Nikorima has a player option to remain with the club in 2023 but has been linked to the new Dolphins franchise so he could end up there next year. The 28-year-old is set to fill the bench utility role that Benji Marshall excelled in during last year’s run to the grand final.

His departure frees up space for the Warriors to accommodate Roosters halfback Ronald Volkman and hooker Freddy Lussick, who are joining the team immediately.

Volkman, 19, already has a three-year Warriors contract from 2023 through to 2025 and Lussick, 21, has been secured on a contract to the end of 2022 campaign.

Nikorima has played 145 NRL matches for the Warriors and Broncos since making his debut for Brisbane in 2015 and has lined up in 15 Tests for New Zealand.

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“Kodi has been a strong performer at NRL and international level for a number of seasons now, across many positions including all of the key spine positions,” Rabbitohs head of Football Mark Ellison said.

“He will add depth to our side across many facets of the game and we feel he can bring another dimension to our attack as well as strength to our defence when he is on the field.

“His experience will also be valuable to many of the young players we have in our squad.”

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Jennings joins Dolphins

NRL expansion outfit the Dolphins have added another player to their inaugural squad with winger Robert Jennings signing a three-year deal.

The Penrith Panthers’ back, who has represented Tonga at international level, is the latest recruit for Wayne Bennett’s squad ahead of the Dolphins’ entry into the competition in 2023.

An Australian schoolboy representative, Jennings is the younger brother of former NSW State of Origin player Michael Jennings and Melbourne Storm’s George Jennings.

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The 26-year-old, who has also played for South Sydney and Wests Tigers, has scored 33 tries in 65 NRL appearances.

He also made one appearance for Tonga in a Test against Samoa in 2018.

Jennings joins a list of already confirmed players for the Redcliffe-based franchise that includes Storm veterans Felise Kaufusi, Jesse Bromwich and Kenny Bromwich as well as 21-year-old North Queensland forward Tom Gilbert.

The club has yet to land a genuine superstar signature however with Reed Mahoney, Brandon Smith, Harry Grant and Jahrome Hughes all signing elsewhere.

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Melbourne star Cameron Munster remains a priority target for Bennett while newspaper reports over the weekend also linked the veteran coach with Brisbane’s English centre Herbie Farnworth.

Eels set to cop fine for trainer drama

The NRL is likely to fine the Eels over their trainer running across the goalposts as Penrith’s Nathan Cleary took a crucial conversion attempt in their Round 10 thriller.

Footage emerged over the weekend of trainer Steve Murphy scurrying away from the team huddle as Cleary moved in to take a sideline conversion in the 53rd minute. 

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Cleary missed the kick and the two points could have been decisive in a match Parramatta ultimately won 22-20.

Panthers deputy chairman Greg Alexander said he expected Parramatta to get a stern rebuke from the NRL.

“Where was he running to? Where was he heading?,” Alexander said on SEN Radio on Monday morning.

“I think he broke the rule. That he did. He’ll be fined and suspended for a couple of games, I’m guessing.”

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Papanehuyzen injury throws Dally M race wide open

Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes is just two votes off the lead in the Dally M Medal after his man of the match effort in Sunday’s dramatic win over the Warriors.

Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans also picked up three votes after leading his team to an emphatic victory over the Tigers on Saturday.

And with Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen set to be out for a few weeks with knee and hamstring problems, the likes of Hynes, DCE, Panthers captain Isaah Yeo and Dragons skipper Ben Hunt also in the top five.

Dally M leaderboard after Round 9 

15: Ryan Papenhuyzen

14: Isaiah Yeo

13: Nicho Hynes, Ben Hunt, Daly Cherry-Evans

12: Mitch Moses

10: James Tedesco

9: Dylan Edwards, Siosifa Talakai, Sam Walker, Jahrome Hughes, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant

Round 9 votes

Rabbitohs v Broncos: 3: Adam Reynolds, 2: Pat Carrigan, 1: Corey Oates. Judge: Tim Mannah

Raiders v Bulldogs: 3: Matt Burton, 2: Adam Elliott, 1: Matt Frawley. Judge: Nathan Hindmarsh

Panthers v Eels: 3: Junior Paulo, 2: Clint Gutherson, 1: Isaah Yeo. Judge: Wally Lewis

Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers: 3: Daly Cherry-Evans, 2: Ben Trbojevic, 1: Lachlan Croker. Judge: Wendell Sailor

Roosters v Titans: 3: James Tedesco, 2: Luke Keary, 1: Joseph Sua’lii. Judge: Chris Heighington

Cowboys v Knights: 3: Chad Townsend, 2: Kalyn Ponga, 1: Jeremiah Nanai. Judge: Roy Masters

Storm v Dragons: 3: Harry Grant, 2: Cameron Munster, 1: Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Judge: Scott Sattler

Sharks v Warriors: 3: Nicho Hynes, 2: Teig Wilton, 1: Cameron McInnes. Judge: Gary Belcher

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