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Cronulla keen to prise Sam Kasiano from Canterbury as replacement for Andrew Fifita

Date

Adrian Proszenko and Michael Carayannis

Bulk buy: Canterbury giant Sam Kasiano on the charge against the Gold Coast Titans.

Bulk buy: Canterbury giant Sam Kasiano on the charge against the Gold Coast Titans. Photo: Getty Images

Cronulla are aiming to exact revenge on Canterbury for poaching Andrew Fifita by launching a retaliatory strike for Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano.

The news comes as David Fifita emerged as a contender to replace his suspended brother for the grudge match against the Bulldogs.

The Sharks are still reeling after losing established star Fifita and an emerging one, promising hooker Michael Lichaa, to Belmore at the end of the season. The twin strikes add spice to Monday's ANZ encounter, although Andrew Fifita won't be playing after accepting a two-match suspension for a shoulder charge on Gold Coast winger David Mead.

It's understood David Fifita, yet to make his NRL debut, and former Manly prop Tim Robinson are being considered to fill the void.

Andrew Fifita became the highest-paid front-rower in history when he signed a four-year deal believed to be worth about $3.2 million. The Sharks are on the hunt for a replacement, although there are few on the open market. They have money to spend and have expressed interest in Kasiano. The New Zealand international is contracted until the end of 2015 but the Bulldogs are likely to have to shift players after a spate of signings and re-signings.

"Sam Kasiano would be the biggest-name prop off contract if he was to be released by Canterbury," said his agent, Mario Tartak.

"There has already been plenty of interest; my phone has been running hot in recent days."

Kasiano, who opted to represent New Zealand despite overtures to play for the Maroons, has not asked for a release, nor have Canterbury asked him to explore his options. However, the parties are likely to discuss his place in the roster next week.

Newcastle have also expressed interest in Kasiano, while South Sydney – one of the suitors who missed out on Fifita as a replacement for Sam Burgess – could also be an option. However, the Sharks are desperate for grunt up front after losing Ben Ross, Mark Taufua, Jayson Bukuya and Jon Green in the off-season. Bryce Gibbs is also likely to retire at the of the year.

Should they snare Kasiano, the Sharks would be replacing last year's Dally M prop of the year with the recipient of the award the previous season. Kasiano is injured but is expected to return within a fortnight.

As well as securing the services of Fifita and Lichaa, the blue-and-whites are poised to announce contract extensions for Michael Ennis, James Graham and Josh Morris, while centre Tim Lafai was recently locked away long term.

With a pack also boasting Greg Eastwood, Frank Pritchard, Aiden Tolman, Tony Williams, Dave Klemmer, Dale Finucane and Josh Jackson in the engine room, it will be impossible to keep them all under the salary cap. Kasiano is the one most likely to go, while Lloyd Perrett could also be squeezed out. Perrett, the younger brother of Kiwi international Sam, is highly regarded but may not be offered an extension when he comes off contract at season's end. Sam said he would hold no grudges if Lloyd wasn't retained.

“Lloyd is a great talent,” Sam Perrett said. “He is a young fella coming through. He is working hard. He has the ability and the intelligence and skills to get his opportunity wherever it may be.

“Hopefully it’ll be here but I have no doubt in his ability. I think he is well capable of playing first grade some time shortly. Just seeing him progress and develop as a person and a football player, he’d have no dramas.”

6 comments so far

  • Only time will tell if Canterbury have made the right call. There is no doubting Fifita's ability but if he does perform at the standard he did last year then it's guaranteed he will be taken for origin duties. Given the impact this has on teams mid season I'm not sure he would've been worth more dollars than Kasiano.

    I think over time more value will be placed on overseas representatives that don't play for Australia because of the effect the origin period has on clubs is significant and the salary should compensate players for not abandoning their country in the hunt for the cash on offer for SOO. With Gallen and Fifita almost guaranteed to get an origin place plus potentially Carney if fit and in form there would be a great benefit to acquire Kasiano in place of Fifita but the sharks have a lot of depth in the forwards and have a carbon copy in his brother available so I don't understand why they feel the need to compete with clubs that are ready to throw big money around.

    You see every year Melbourne Storm barging out of the gate at the start of the season but origin takes it's toll more and more on them every year as their key players get older and more succeptable to injury.

    I think there will be some buyers remorse on the part of the bulldogs if they had money to throw around it should've been on a quality fullback but then again Des is a great coach and no doubt if he hasn't seen the need to poach one he has one waiting in the wings.

    Commenter
    El Seano
    Date and time
    March 14, 2014, 12:20AM
    • Just a thought but when Players are signed a season ahead of when of their contract commences the club signing the player should be required to demonstrate how the player will fit into it's salary cap when the contract activates. The situation as it now stands is the only conclusion you can draw is the Doggies have a very creative "Numbers Man" and a smokescreen of discussion of who might be cut.

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Gymea Bay
      Date and time
      March 14, 2014, 5:45AM
      • convince them to take Tony Williams..... please.....

        Commenter
        granma
        Date and time
        March 14, 2014, 7:44AM
        • How many fans considering Sharks memberships packages saw this signing as the last straw? I am assuming quite a few have held off to see if any players are stood down this season but now this happens in the first week of the competition and to add further pain Fifita is suspended for two weeks! The fans are the biggest losers with this flawed system.

          Commenter
          Dog gone
          Location
          The beautiful NSW South Coast
          Date and time
          March 14, 2014, 12:44PM
          • How is this revenge? The Dogs grab a player the Sharks wanted to keep and the Sharks may get a player that the Dogs no longer want.

            Commenter
            IH
            Date and time
            March 14, 2014, 5:29PM
            • El Seano, makes a good point. As a Bronco fan I remember a couple of seasons ago when 10 players played some form of rep duties. Do you reckon this had some sort of an affect on the Broncos ladder position?

              Commenter
              DP
              Location
              GC
              Date and time
              March 14, 2014, 8:25PM

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