Rugby League


Canberra Raiders weigh up fullback options as Josh Hoffman looms as a prospect

Josh Hoffman's manager Paul Hogan expects the Canberra Raiders to be one of many teams to show interest in his client after the Brisbane Broncos officially gave the Kiwi international permission to speak with other clubs on Thursday. 

The departure of Anthony Milford to the Broncos has opened up the possibility of a straight swap with Hoffman, who has made no secret of his desire to find a permanent home at fullback. 

Canberra is keen to sign a No.1 after Tigers custodian James Tedesco reneged on a deal with the Raiders earlier this year, and the club has been linked to Hoffman and disgruntled Sea Eagle Brett Stewart. 

The Raiders have other fullback options with Jack Wighton superb there in the final three games of this year, while Jordan Rapana also showed promise in two games before a fractured skull ended his season. 

"I've touched base with Ricky [Stuart, Raiders coach] in the past and we discussed if there was an opportunity there for him to come to Canberra," Hogan said. 

"I know Canberra needs a fullback, I would think Ricky would be keen to have a chat. 


"There's nothing really [concrete] there, no definites from anybody at the moment. 

"They [Brisbane] have given us the opportunity to test ourselves on the open market and we're going to. The Broncos have been very amicable and transparent. 

"Not all of them [interested clubs] want him as a fullback. If he gets offers from other clubs he's not happy with, he could still stay at the Broncos. The offer's still there." 

The 26-year-old began the year at five-eighth for the Broncos before he was shifted back to fullback. 

Canberra is also looking to bolster its halves and is chasing Tigers utility Blake Austin, and Hoffman would provide handy back-up there. 

Hogan said playing fullback holds more importance for Hoffman than money, and will be the most decisive factor should he decide to leave Brisbane with a year left on his deal. 

The Warriors and Bulldogs have also shown strong interest, but it's understood New Zealand coach Andrew McFadden wants him to play at centre. 

"I think it probably is [more important], he's made it clear he sees his future as a fullback and can do something serious there," he said.

The Broncos issued a release on Thursday confirming Hoffman had been given permission to investigate other options. 

"In fairness to Josh and Catalyst Sports Management, we feel we need to give him the opportunity to explore offers he may or may not receive from other clubs," Broncos' chief executive Paul White said. 

"As Josh's preferred position is fullback, the Broncos are happy to work with his management to allow this process to take place.

"The Broncos have signalled its intention to bring Darius Boyd back to the club, but must stress that no deal has been done in this regard.

"If Josh and his management are unable to source a more suitable outcome, the Broncos will be pleased to honour his playing contact for the 2015 season."