SYDNEY ROOSTERS are still hopeful of striking a deal to lure Luke O'Donnell to the club despite Huddersfield denying the forward a release from his contract.
The rejection from the English club came just hours before the Roosters released Brad Takairangi from the final year of his contract to join Gold Coast for the next three years.
While Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan insists Takairangi wasn't shedded to free some space in the salary cap, he admitted it did help the club's cause in their pursuit of the former international.
But if the Roosters are not successful in their attempt to bring in O'Donnell, they won't continue the search for a back-rower given the depth at the club.
''If he's not available, it's not a major issue for us,'' Canavan said. ''We're confident in our depth in the back row.''
It's understood O'Donnell's partner is homesick and his young family are keen to return home, despite the former North Queensland forward needing to take a significant pay cut to join the Roosters.
''If the player and manager decide he'll come back, we'll take it from there,'' Canavan said. ''If Luke and his current club say he is to remain in England, we move on from this.''
Huddersfield managing director Richard Thewlis reiterated the club's intention to keep O'Donnell.
''Given media reports in Sydney, I feel duty bound to comment on a matter that I feel would have been best kept confidential but now seems to be growing into a media frenzy,'' he said.
''Our head coach Paul Anderson was contacted by the Roosters suggesting a swap deal involving Luke O'Donnell but none of the options presented to us were deemed satisfactory. We of course informed Luke personally as these things seem to have ways of leaking out and he is very comfortable with our actions in respect of what occurred.
''He remains a Giant and will face London Broncos on Sunday at the John Smith's Stadium which is where all of our energies are focused and not in expanding upon potentially destabilising player movement rumours.''
Meanwhile, Canterbury have added former halfback Matt Orford to their coaching staff for this season.
Orford, who won a premiership at Manly under Des Hasler, will take over from Brett Kimmorley as the club's specialist skills coach.
''It is great to have Matt on board,'' Hasler said. ''He brings with him a wealth of experience which he will no doubt share with not only the NRL squad members but also through the entire junior system that we have here at the club.''
Hasler named two sides for this Sunday's trial against Newtown Jets at Belmore Sports Ground.
The second-half side contains Steve Turner, who returns from a season-ending injury, new recruit Tony Williams, as well as Josh Reynolds, Krisnan Inu, Aiden Tolman and Kris Keating.
■ Penrith general manager Phil Gould met with Arana Taumata on Wednesday morning after the Panthers player posted a racist tweet about My Kitchen Rules contestants Jessie Khan and Biswa Kamila.
On Tuesday night Taumata tweeted: ''Get them two curry munches off #MKR they are just pure annoying now. Making the programme shit. ???????? #MKR.''
Taumata later apologised on Twitter.
''Just wanna apologise for the remarks I said last night about the two indian ladies on. #MKR''