Wayne Bennett signs Origin star with Dolphins

Wayne Bennett has finally landed a former Origin star who was strongly linked with a move to the Dolphins after he was released.

The Dolphins have signed Broncos center Brenko Lee to a two-year deal starting in the club’s first NRL season.

Lee was given a final year release from his Broncos contract, which allowed him to connect with cousin, Edrick Lee, who has already put pen to paper with the 17th franchise.

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The pair played together with the Raiders and also made their Origin debut together in 2020, coached by Wayne Bennett in the series win.

The 26-year-old has played 70 NRL games to date and has played his trade for the Raiders, Bulldogs, Titans, Broncos and was a premiership winner with the Storm.

“We are very excited to sign Brenko for our NRL debut,” Dolphins chief executive Terry Reader said in a club statement.

“He performed well at Origin level under our coach Wayne Bennett and also played at the Storm alongside Felise Kaufusi and the Bromwich brothers who will form the core of our leadership group.

“Let’s not forget that he also won an NRL Grand Final.

“And most importantly, Brenko is from Brisbane, so he understands the history and the success the dolphins have had in their 75-year history.”

Vaughan’s move abroad

Bulldogs enforcer Paul Vaughan has signed a two-year deal with the Warrington Wolves in the Super League.

The former Blues and Kangaroos prop will make the move for the 2023 and 2024 seasons after signing a one-year contract with the Canterbury-Bankstown club in 2022.

Vaughan has made 196 NRL appearances, representing Australia twice and the Blues six times.

“I am very excited to make the switch to Warrington next year,” Vaughan said in a club statement.

“I’ve been extremely lucky with my career in the NRL and I’ve always wanted to come and test myself in the UK.

“I played in a World Cup in England in 2013 and I’ve always told myself that if I get the chance to play there, I’d love to do it.

“I’m almost playing my 200th game here and I feel like I have a lot more to offer with my footy. I come here with very good intentions to put my best foot forward. I’m my own toughest critic and I like to push myself week after week.

“I just want to play good football and be part of a successful team. I can’t wait to get started.”

Wolves coach Daryl Powell explained he was delighted to recruit Vaughan, who has recorded “excellent” stats so far in his 2022 Bulldogs campaign.

“For example, he hasn’t missed a tackle in his last two games and made 177 meters last week,” Powell said in a club statement.

“He is a great ball carrier, defends and moves well and works hard. I’ve had a few Zoom chats with him and I also really like how he comes across as a dude.

“We’ve talked a lot about the size and being a terrifying pack and we’ve worked hard to get that in place for next season.”

Knights young gun joins Eels

The Eels have signed Knights Young Gun Jirah Momoisea to a two-year deal starting in 2023.

Momoisea, 23, made eight appearances for Newcastle after coming off the bench in the first five games in 2022.

Injuries have plagued the young gunner’s career but he will give the Eels a front row option after the club loses big names including Nathan Brown, Marata Niukore and Isaiah Papali’i.

“Jirah is a talented young striker with a great attitude both on and off the pitch. We look forward to welcoming him to our lub next season,” Eels’ football general manager Mark O’Neill said in a club statement.

Momoisea was poached from New Zealand by the Storm in 2017 and spent a year at the club’s esteemed academy before joining the Knights in 2018.

Its 193cm frame makes it an imposing figure in the front row and the Eels hope to develop the fledgling weapon.

Panthers lock up young gun

The Panthers have locked up one of their brightest young stars with Izack Tago signing a new deal to stay at the foot of the mountains.

The 20-year-old centre, which was already contracted for 2023, has extended until at least the end of the 2025 season.

“Re-signing at the club I debuted for means so much to me. Staying with the guys I’ve played with over the years makes it even better,” Tago said.

“I am proud to represent this area. I’ve been here all my life and this place is my home. I am excited about the opportunity to represent the community.”

It follows extensions for Taylan May, Sunia Turuva, Lindsay Smith, Ativalu Lisati and Liam Henry in recent weeks

“It’s great to see another local junior commit his future to the club, and we’re excited to see Izack stay in Panthers colors until at least the end of 2025,” said Matt Cameron, CEO of the Panthers Rugby League .

“It has been an important week for Izack, who was also selected in the Samoa squad for next week’s Pacific Test against the Cook Islands – a great reward for his hard work and dedication.

“Izack has made the most of his first-class opportunity this season and we are excited to see him develop his game at Panthers over the next three years.”

Originally published as Bennett shows up when Bronco is released; Bulldogs Cannon Heading Abroad: NRL Transfer Center

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