Rugby League

MC SQUARED

Penrith Panthers chase Sam Moa after Sydney Roosters agree to early release

Penrith could be bolstered by the addition of another international forward with the Panthers in negotiations with Roosters prop Sam Moa for next season.

Fairfax Media has been told the Panthers have held several discussions with the New Zealand front-rower about joining the club next season alongside St George Illawarra lock Trent Merrin, who signed a three-year deal in March.

Moa still has another season to run with the Roosters, however it is understood the tri-colours have agreed to release the 28-year-old if he manages to strike a deal with another club.

While Penrith have expressed interest in Moa, his arrival at the foot of the mountains would be heavily dependent on the future of off-contract forwards Lewis Brown, Sika Manu and Adam Docker.

The Panthers will have some extra money in the salary cap with props Brent Kite and Nigel Plum to retire at the end of the year, however most of that money has been spent retaining the likes of youngsters Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Waqa Blake, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Tyrone Peachey.

The Roosters have already lost Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to the Warriors, while winger Daniel Tupou and five-eighth James Maloney are yet to be re-signed.

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Meanwhile, South Sydney are set to sign Paul Carter on an 18-month contract. Carter was sacked by the Titans for two drink driving offences in two months.

Hasler fined $5000

Canterbury Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has been slapped with a $5000 fine by the NRL for failing to adhere to the host broadcasters media guidelines. Under the guidelines, all NRL coaches have to make themselves available at half-time if requested by the host broadcaster.

Fox Sports had requested to speak with Hasler at half-time of Monday's game against the Dragons at ANZ Stadium, however the Bulldogs coach sent assistant Jim Dymock. The Bulldogs have five business days to decide whether to appeal the preliminary fine.

It's not the first time this season Hasler has found himself in hot water, hit with a $10,000 suspended fine for criticising the referees.

Pearce mellowed by yellow 

"Are you going out boys?" Mitchell Pearce asked a few journalists as he walked out of the team lobby holding a bottle of water during the first Origin camp.

"Yeah mate, should be a big night," those journalists, who for privacy reasons shall not be named, responded.

To which Pearce replied: "Just watch out for the girls in the coloured dresses".

It was an indication of how far Pearce has come in 12 months to talk so openly with the media about "the girl in the yellow dress" incident that cost him his NSW jumper last season.

MC Squared sat down with the Blues halfback in camp on Wednesday night to ask him what he actually thought about when he hears the term "girl in the yellow dress", admitting it was the wake-up call he needed.

"I used to think about that night, but now I don't," Pearce said.

"The whole thing was just a crazy week, the way it took off. I brought it all on myself. I shouldn't have been out that night, shouldn't have been carrying on. Obviously it came out, 'the girl in the yellow dress', but nothing happened. I wish her all the best.

"I didn't even know who she was. That part I was totally comfortable with because I knew there wasn't an issue. But the fact I put myself in that position, a week before Origin out on the piss, and carried on like and idiot, is something I'm not proud of."

Seward out of Storm race

Fairfax Media recently revealed Parramatta Eels boss Scott Seward had held discussions with the Melbourne Storm about taking over from Mark Evans as chief executive.

But it appears Seward hasn't made the shortlist, with the Storm narrowing down their preferences to two AFL-aligned candidates. It is understood former Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs player Simon Garlick, who resigned from his role of CEO of the Bulldogs in January after five years in the job, is one of them. The second candidate is the general manager of consumer business at Carlton, Clinton Bown.

Woods pushes Taylor's hair trigger

Aaron Woods started growing his hair and beard to irritate his girlfriend, but it began irritating Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor instead.

With his girlfriend's headband in his hair and her hair ties on his hand, Woods told MC Squared his club coach had asked him to start tying his hair up rather than wear the strapping tape around his head like he did to start the year.

"It wasn't shitting me, but it was shitting my coach," Woods said.

"He was getting frustrated because he said every time I made a run and played the ball, I would stop to pull my tape back down. I'd have to stand there and fix the tape and miss the play, so he asked me to tie it up. It's not getting pulled as much any more. Josh McGuire actually pulled my hair in Origin. I think he actually pulled himself up with my hair."

Knights eye Panther coach

Trent Barrett might not be the only Panthers assistant coach leaving the foot of the mountains. The Knights are understood to be keeping one eye on NSW Cup coach Garth Brennan, who has the Panthers on top of the ladder at the midway point of the season. Brennan pulled out of the race for the Knights job to replace Wayne Bennett when it looked like Rick Stone would get the nod. Pressure is mounting on Stone after Newcastle slumped to their ninth loss in their past 10 games. 

Bio-patches bypassed

It was dubbed as the Blues' secret weapon ahead of game one, but NSW have shelved the use of bio-patches this camp. NSW players had the patches attached to their arms until the day before Origin I, in a bid to measure their stress and anxiety levels. The players had to wear them at all times, with one noting how bad they smelt when they were finally removed. NSW are also without their regular sports scientist Craig Duncan, who is with the Socceroos in Dubai.

Club series expansion mooted

The World Club Series is set to be expanded to four teams each from the NRL and English Super League following the success of the inaugural tournament this year. Super League general manager Blake Solly presented to the NRL club chief executives on Thursday in a bid to drum up interest. Fairfax Media understands 12 NRL teams are keen on joining the premiers in travelling to England next year.

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