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Cashed-up Canberra have turned their attention to Roosters wunderkind Tautau Moga after missing out on James Tedesco Penrith flyer Josh Mansour.
The Raiders have money to spend under their salary cap and continue to aggressively scour the player market. They came close to snaring Mansour, a contender for a NSW wing spot, who ultimately decided to remain at the foot of the mountains.
Off contract at the end of the season: Tautau Moga (top right). Photo: Colleen Petch
The Green Machine are now targeting Moga, the prodigiously talented Roosters three-quarter who has been compared to Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau.
Moga is off contract at the end of the season and the Roosters are keen to retain his services. However, he would need to take a big pay cut to remain at Bondi Junction after suffering two season-ending knee injuries. The 20-year-old recently returned to the field with feeder team Newtown but the setbacks have limited him to just 14 NRL appearances since storming onto the scene in 2012.
The Roosters have also signed Blake Ferguson to an off-field role with a view to registering the troubled star for next season, a move which could hasten Moga's exit.
The Raiders have missed out on some of their prime targets in recent times, including Tedesco, Mansour, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Kevin Proctor, Glenn Stewart, and Kevin Locke. However, they are unperturbed and are confident of landing more big names.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure of who they're targeting now and who's off contract, but it'd be good to get a couple more players," skipper Terry Campese said. "If you look at our squad I don't think it needs to be strengthened up too much to be more consistent with our performances. I'm pretty sure they'll target a few more players. I'm not sure if they'll target younger players for the future or get some big names to jump in there as well, whatever they do I'm sure they'll try and do what's best by the squad."
Former representative forward Brett White said he was bemused by Mansour's decision to turn the Raiders down. "The guys that they've targeted were great targets," he said. "Tedesco is going to be a fantastic part of our team next year and it will be great having him down here. It would've been nice to have Mansour here, but I thought it a bit funny that he came out yesterday and said his heart was in Penrith. I guess he strung the Raiders [along] or didn't let the Raiders know earlier that his heart was in Penrith where he is at the moment. I found that a bit odd, but whether that's part of his management strategy or whatnot."