Rugby League

Canberra Raiders ready to pounce on rival big men as salary cap squeeze sets in

Canberra Raiders boss Don Furner says the club is monitoring the salary cap situation of rival clubs closely as they search for more front row depth for next season. 

Speaking on ABC Radio, Furner confirmed Fairfax Media's report earlier this week they had signed former Melbourne Storm grand final winner Jeff Lima.

It is believed he is only on a modest contract, which is for one year with a one-year option. 

However after the departures of experienced props David Shillington (Gold Coast) and Dane Tilse (Hull KR), the Raiders are ready to pounce should big men be squeezed out of their current clubs. 

Fairfax Media reported on October 15 the Raiders are interested in Junior Paulo, who still has one year remaining on his Parramatta Eels contract.

"We do need to bolster our front row stocks and we are still in the market for others," Furner said. 

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"Our strategy there is we think some other clubs will have salary cap problems shortly. We've got our eye on a few and we'll see what happens. 

"The salary cap is a very difficult thing to manage, and I think that might happen to a few Sydney clubs. 

"The guys we're looking at have played 50 to 100 games."

Furner also said the club hoped to extend the contracts of Josh Papalii (off contract end of 2016), Shannon Boyd (2017), Jack Wighton (2016) and Josh Hodgson (2016) by the end of the year. 

Most of the squad will return for pre-season training on Monday, however hooker Hodgson is in camp with the England team and Wighton will be back in two weeks after playing for the Prime Minister's XIII. 

Fairfax Media understands Papalii's management are looking at a one or two-year extension at this stage, as it is unclear how big the salary cap will be once the new television deal kicks in. 

Joey Leilua's manager Paul Sutton has also confirmed the former Newcastle Knight is likely to re-sign for another three years after joining the Raiders late last year. 

"We meet with Josh Papalii's manager next week, have been progressing talks with Shannon Boyd's agent and Josh Hodgson before he left with the English side," Furner said. 

"The other ones we're working on and hopefully we'll have that done before Christmas. 

"Once Jack gets back we'll sit down with him, and he's certainly a priority as well." 

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