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Raiders eye versatile Tigers star Moltzen to boost playing stocks

Date

Jon Tuxworth

Tigers star Tim Moltzen, centre, is in the Raiders' sights.

Tigers star Tim Moltzen, centre, is in the Raiders' sights. Photo: Getty Images

The Canberra Raiders have confirmed their interest in luring controversial utility Tim Moltzen to the club should his contract negotiations break down with Wests Tigers.

The battle for Moltzen's signature sparked a spiteful tug-of-war between the Dragons and Tigers late last year, but Raiders boss Don Furner admitted he ''would be discussed''.

Moltzen's manager Martin Tauber confirmed yesterday the 23-year-old remained unsigned for next season.

Wests reportedly want to keep him, but the Raiders are surprised at the Tigers' hesitancy in offering Moltzen a contract after they fought tooth and nail to stop him joining the Dragons.

Moltzen had agreed to join St George Illawarra on a three-year deal but backflipped last October to remain at the Tigers.

''He is a very good player and we'll definitely discuss him,'' Furner said.

''He hasn't been represented to us by his manager, just what we've seen in the papers.

''What position he could play [is up for debate]. We're expecting Campo [Terry Campese] to come back and Duges [Josh Dugan] to shoot back [to fullback].''

The Raiders have suffered injuries at fullback, hooker and centre this season, all positions Moltzen has filled at NRL level.

Tauber voiced his frustration at Moltzen's uncertain future earlier this month, but expects to sit down shortly with Tigers coach Tim Sheens and chief executive Stephen Humphreys.

''We're still in the negotiation stages, I'm pretty sure they want to keep him and Tim would like to stay, but who knows?'' Tauber said.

''At this stage he's not re-signed and we've got a meeting hopefully later this week to see where we're at.''

Canberra are desperate to sign a hooker and an experienced outside back for next year, and up to 20 players have been shopped around to them.

After failing to lure Manly rake Matt Ballin to the capital, the Raiders are weighing up the possibility of pursuing emerging Brisbane Broncos hooker Kurt Baptiste or Souths youngster Nathan Peats.

Both 21-year-olds have struggled for game time at their clubs behind established dummy-halves Andrew McCullough and Issac Luke.

''There's no experienced nines out there off-contract, so you have to pick the next best one,'' Furner said.

Another Tigers utility, Tom Humble, is also on Canberra's radar, though that option hinges on whether veteran Shaun Berrigan elects to play again next year.

Berrigan, 33, is recovering from a bicep injury and the club is hoping he will take up an option in his contract to commit to 2013.

''A Tom Humble is a similar [utility] player to Berro, so we probably don't need two of those,'' Furner said.

''He doesn't have the experience of a Shaun Berrigan and he [Humble] probably can't play in the centres as well as he can.''

Canberra Toyota Cup coach Andrew Dunemann has big raps on Humble after coaching him at Queensland Cup outfit Northern Pride in 2009.

''He just dominated that comp and I remember when we played Souths Logan who had guys like Shaun Fensom and Josh McCrone in their team - he stood out,'' Dunemann said.

''At Wests Tigers he can't get his hands on the footy but he's a dynamic runner of the footy, he's a quality player.

''If you trained him at hooker over the off-season, he'd do a good job. He's quick out of dummy-half and is very good defensively as well.''

Furner refuted rumours the club could sign out-of-favoue Eels prop Justin Poore before the June 30 deadline.

SATURDAY

NRL round 16: North Queensland v Canberra at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville, 5.30pm.

TV Time: Live on Fox Sports 2.

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