Rugby League


Canberra Raiders close in on James Tedesco and Michael Ennis

The Canberra Raiders are closing in on two of their key recruitment targets, with Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco and Canterbury captain Michael Ennis both in their sights.

Tedesco is weighing up a massive $2.4 million, three-year deal from the Raiders and the Tigers want to know by Monday whether he will accept their lower $500,000 per season contract for the next four years.

Ennis and his wife will visit Canberra on Tuesday to meet with the Raiders to discuss a two-year deal reported to be worth $1 million.

It is understood Ennis is weighing up a one-year offer to remain at the Bulldogs along with a position at the club after he retires to go with his television work at Fox Sports.

The Raiders are also in the hunt for Storm back-rower Kevin Proctor and Panthers winger Josh Mansour, but confirmed they are not in the market for promising Cowboys flyer Curtis Rona.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner said it was a positive sign that Ennis would be visiting Canberra and was hopeful they could announce some signings in the near future.


"Hopefully we'll get an answer on Tedesco and Proctor pretty soon, but we'll just wait and see,'' Furner said.

"We have to be pretty active in the market because we're losing a few.

"We would have liked to have kept (Anthony) Milford, but if we had discounts in the salary cap (for junior development) then maybe we could have gone higher for Matt Allwood.''

Milford turned down a lucrative offer from the Raiders to honour his contract with the Broncos, while Allwood will join the Warriors on a three-year deal from next season.

Ennis, 30, told Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show that he needed to consider his options after the Bulldogs declined to offer him a long-term deal.

''Obviously I love the club, but I've got a young family and I've got to make a decision,'' Ennis said.

"It's probably going to be my last contract.

''I just need to make sure that I take the time, make sure it's the right one and explore all avenues.''

Tedesco and Mansour visited Canberra last week, while the Raiders are in a race with the Dragons for Proctor's signature.

The Raiders have traditionally stayed away from recruiting players from other clubs because they have to pay over the market value to attract them to Canberra.

However, they are upset with the NRL declining a proposal for more incentives for junior development and are considering how much they invest in those areas.

"Realistically as a business you wouldn't put money into junior development,'' Furner said.

''You would wait until players are 22 or 23 and just buy them.

''Our board will look at where we spend our money – Logan, Mounties, all our junior teams – because it doesn't really give you a return.''