WELCOME to The Mole’s Monday Scoops! Here’s the highly accurate rodent’s best work this week . . .
Saifiti brothers swap for Ponga
The Cowboys have come up with a daring ploy to lure Newcastle’s promising Saifiti twins to Townsville next season – in exchange for brilliant youngster Kalyn Ponga.
The Knights have signed Ponga for 2018 but are desperate to get the teenage star to the coalfields a year early.
RLW has learned that the Cowboys have told the Knights Ponga is free to leave tomorrow – if Newcastle give them the Saifiti brothers.
Jacob and Daniel Saifiti are among the best young forwards in the Knights’ ranks and Newcastle are highly unlikely to agree to the deal, however.
The Cowboys have been on the lookout for a good front-rower since James Tamou agreed to go to Penrith for 2017 and the Saifitis would fit the bill perfectly.
The pair made history by becoming the first twins in history to debut in the same game in round one last year, aged just 19.
They were steady improvers in a difficult season for the struggling Knights and coach Nathan Brown seems certain to knock back the two-for-one swap – no matter how badly he wants Ponga.
Groat eyes NRL return
Remember Matt Groat – the front-rower who debuted for Wests Tigers while still a teenager in 2011?
Groat looked a fair prospect – but several concussions – including one notable one from a then-legal shoulder charge from Broncos forward Ben Te’o – saw his career stall.
Groat has spent the past two seasons in England rebuilding his confidence but is back in Australia and has signed with Titans feeder club Central Queensland Capras.
Still only 24, he has plenty to offer and could be a handy fill-in for the Titans over a long season in 2017.
Soward makes return to footy
Jamie Soward’s retirement hasn’t lasted long.
The former Dragons’ premiership winner – who retired last month after a brief stint with London Broncos – was spotted at the NSW touch football championships last weekend at Port Macquarie on the state’s mid-north coast weaving his magic.
And my spies tell me Soward showed plenty of his customary dash, doing plenty of damage in attack with the ball in his hands.
Raiders forward moves to Manly
Manly haven’t announced it yet, but you can take it as a done deal that they have signed aggressive Raiders forward Jarrad Kennedy for next season.
Canberra declared they had released Kennedy to ‘join a rival NRL club’ late last week.
But Manly – always on the lookout for fresh blood – have picked up Kennedy and he’ll be a handy addition to their squad for 2017.