Joseph Tapine heading to Canberra Raiders after standoff with Newcastle resolved

Joseph Tapine heading to Canberra Raiders after standoff with Newcastle resolved

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart's selection dilemma has just got bigger with Joseph Tapine to travel to the capital on Wednesday to finalise a deal until the 2020 season.

Tapine was finally released by Newcastle on Tuesday after a public standoff between Tapine's manager Jim Banaghan and the Knights front office.

Free at last: Joseph Tapine has won a release from Newcastle.

Free at last: Joseph Tapine has won a release from Newcastle. Credit:Jonathan Carroll

The 21-year-old Junior Kiwi told Fairfax Media last week he felt Newcastle had "turned their back on me" after taking up a rich deal with Canberra.

The original deal was for three seasons from 2017, with an option for a fourth in Tapine's favour, but his early arrival means he will be a Raider for five years.


Newcastle released a statement on Tuesday confirming Tapine's release, and he is expected to officially become a Raider this week.

Stuart was happy Tapine could move on from the issue and focus on football.

"Our plans were for 2017 and if it comes sooner, all the better for him," Stuart said.

"The way he's been treated at Newcastle, it's probably the best fit for Joey and Newcastle is they've got to come to some sort of arrangement."

Tapine has played 20 games for Newcastle the past two seasons, with all bar one coming off the bench.

Banaghan said his client was relieved to be able to move onto the next stage of his career.

"It's great to see that common sense has prevailed," Banaghan said.

"I will be travelling with him to Canberra tomorrow to finalise the deal.

"Newcastle have conceded that there is no other way. They have exhausted all their options in order to get the best result for them.

"Unfortunately this came too late in the off-season to be of any benefit to the club. As a result this has been frustrating and annoying for all parties involved."

Given Canberra's lack of front row depth it looks likely Tapine will spend plenty of time in the middle, with Josh Papalii and Elliott Whitehead seemingly having a mortgage on the starting back row spots.

"He's got a lot of utility value and has played a number of positions," Stuart said.

Canberra is also favourite to secure Parramatta prop Junior Paulo from next year, but Stuart insisted there will still be room for Sia Soliola.

Soliola is off contract this year and won the Mal Meninga medal as Canberra's best player in his first Raiders season last year.

The former Kiwi international said earlier this month he hopes his "services are still needed" as the Raiders re-signed and recruited a glut of young talent.

"Over the last 12 months you've mentioned about eight names and we've signed every one of them," Stuart said.

"Sia's one of us. Sia Soliola is a big part of why we're improving, and Sia Soliola is a big part of the future."

Meanwhile, Raiders hooker Adam Clydsdale has his fingers crossed for good news on Wednesday on a shoulder injury he suffered in Saturday's trial with Newcastle.

"I've got a lot more movement in it the last couple of days so we'll see what the specialist says really," Clydsdale said.

"I don't think it's anything serious, which is good. I'll wait and see what the specialist says tomorrow and go from there."