Bulldog halfback Kyle Flanagan and Dragons counterpart Jayden Sullivan have been pushed forward in a potential player swap to help both clubs’ game problems.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the rumored player swap has put future Bulldogs coach and current Dragons recruiting committee member Shane Flanagan in an awkward position.
Flanagan is considered the favorite to be named the Bulldogs next head coach, with a reunion with son Kyle on the cards, but a player swap with Sullivan would end that possibility.
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Flanagan junior has a contract until the end of 2023, while Sullivan is signed to the Dragons until the end of 2025.
20-year-old Sullivan is stuck behind Ben Hunt at the Dragons and may have to leave to gain more playing time in his preferred halfback position after playing mostly hooker off the bench in his 10 NRL games so far.
Flanagan, 23, has six tries and 288 runs in his 49 NRL appearances, but has only played 20 games since joining the Bulldogs in 2021 from the Roosters.
Flanagan has failed to cement his spot as the Bulldogs’ halfback and there are doubts he is the club’s long-term solution at number 7.
Hunt is likely to re-sign with the Dragons and has shown that he would rather play in the number 7 jersey than hooker.
That would prevent Sullivan from playing halfback if he stays and Flanagan does the same when he joins the Dragons in a swap deal.
The Bulldogs are ready to pounce if Sullivan is released and have pitched the idea of trading a player for Flanagan.
However, the Dragons are not willing to entertain a player swap at this point.
EELS IS GOOD TO POACH PANTHER’S GUN
The Parramatta Eels have reportedly poached the Penrith Panthers’ fledgling weapon J’maine Hopgood to boost their depleted forward supplies for 2023.
“I think they (the Parramatta Eels) will be trumpeting something soon,” Proszenko continued SEN radio†
“We know they want to strengthen their future stock with the departures of Isaiah Papali’I and Marata Niukore. There is also a small question mark as to whether Ryan Matterson will stay long-term.
“The club really want to keep him but they clearly have some gaps to fill, and I’m telling you one of those gaps will be filled by J’maine Hopgood of their arch-rivals the Penrith Panthers.
“In the short time he’s been in the top tier, Brad Arthur has seen more than enough to think he’s someone who will add value.
“They’ve been in talks for a while. There were a few more clubs that were interested. The Bulldogs were quite excited when Trent Barrett came, but he will end up at Parramatta.
The 23-year-old has played seven games for the Panthers since his 2021 debut.
BRONCOS GUN WANT FULLBACK SPOT
Broncos young gun Herbie Farnworth has stated he wants the No. 1 jersey after signing a new one-year deal to stay with Red Hill.
The 19-year-old ambition puts him in direct competition with Broncos sensation Selwyn Cobbo, who is seen as a future full-back, and Te Maire Martin, who has been given the full backing role after Tesi Niu’s hamstring injury.
Farnworth, who was chased by several NRL clubs including the Dolphins before signing a new deal, has also begun working one-on-one with Broncos legend Darius Boyd in a bid to hone his skills as a fullback.
“We have agreed on a one-year contract and fullback is the position I want to play in the future,” Farnworth told the Courier Mail.
“I’ve talked to ‘Kevvie’ (coach Kevin Walters) about it, I want to play fullback next year and get to know that place.
“This year I’m focused on being center and winning games and helping the team.”
Broncos legend and club board member Darren Lockyer said Farnworth’s signing was confirmation of the improvements the club has made.
“At the beginning of the year, we wanted to keep Herbie,” he told Wide World of Sports’ QLDER.
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“We knew the dolphins were chasing him, just like other clubs.
“I think we wanted to secure him in pre-season – he wanted to wait and I think that was really to see if he thinks the club is moving in the right direction.
However, Lockyer gave Farnworth a warning about his bid to play fullback.
“There is an ambition from Herbie to want to play fullback and I think the club want to give him a chance, maybe off-season to train there and try to develop himself.
“He has signed a one-year contract. There are no guarantees that Herbie will be number 1 next year.
“He is a quality player who he will play at least left and center for the Broncos between now and when he comes up for his next contract negotiations.”
Rugby league legend Laurie Daley, meanwhile, was adamant that the Broncos should see Selwyn Cobbo as their long-term fullback.
“I think depending on how he (Farnworth) goes, he could well be the long-term fullback for the Broncos, but you’ve got a guy there, Selwyn Cobbo,” Daley said. Sky Racing’s big sports breakfast.
“I don’t know where Selwyn Cobbo will end up. But he has the skills to play at fullback and he has the skills to play centrally.
“Wherever he plays and the way he’s developing at the moment, he’s getting a reputation that’s earned through talent, but also what you do on the pitch. He could end up in any position in this backline for the Broncos.
“He will either be most effective in one or in the centers, so what do you do with him? If he has his heart set on playing fullback you look at him and Herbie Farnworth and I would probably look at both and go, Cobbo for me is the one I’m sticking with.
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“He is 19 years old. he’s a huge kid and he’s only going to get bigger and stronger and you see him turn into that Latrell Mitchell type of player. Greg Inglis type. Speed, size, catch, defense. Whatever you’re looking for, he’s got it.
“Herbie Farnworth is currently playing good football in the centres, but for me personally if Selwyn Cobbo wants to play fullback and has his heart set on it, I would give him the first chance over Herbie.”
While future Maroon Selwyn Cobbo has a roadblock in the way of Farnworth’s intentions, the 22-year-old is excited for a tough competition for the number one jumper in the 2023 preseason.
“I haven’t thought about that yet,” Farnworth said.
“Selwyn Cobbo is enjoying the wing at the moment, I haven’t talked to him about it yet, but he’s a good buddy of mine and it’s going to be a good fight if he wants to be a fullback.
“Darius is one of the best fullbacks of all time, to have him here, to be close to him and learn from him was definitely a big sell. I’m really looking forward to working with him in the pre-season (on fullback).
“Physically I would fit in that position. I played that position in my juniors and since I was 18 or 19 I played on the rims. I would be willing to work hard with ‘Darbs’ and the coaching staff, I could be a good fullback for this club.
“If Selwyn raises his hand for the spot, it will certainly be a good battle in preparation for the fullback.”
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