The Cumberland Throw

The Corner Post – November 12, 2023: New Beginnings

Whatever you’re looking for in an offseason, the NRL always seems to bring it. The rep footy continued to bring the entertainment but now that it’s wrapped up, we can expect the signing news and occasional off-field drama to keep us talking. For many players, and even clubs, it’s a case of new beginnings.

Over the past two weeks we’ve had jersey drops and a return to preseason training as headlines in the code that is a gift that keeps on giving – Rugby League! 


Pacific Championships Wrap

New Zealand certainly caused a boil over by taking home the inaugural Pacific Championship trophy, with a 30-0 shutout against Australia.

Having been defeated by the Kangaroos only a week before, no pundit could have predicted such a dominant performance from a written-off Kiwis side. As predicted before the tournament began, the New Zealand forward pack played an immense role in their success.

The Penrith link up via Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris proved to be deadly, outrunning Payne Haas and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, with 22 hit ups and enormous post-contact metres between the both of them.



However, the Kiwis success cannot be reduced merely to its dominant forward pack. Fullback Charnze Nicholl-Klockstad was a bright light and played NZ’s final match with a broken rib. Crafty halves Dylan Brown and Jahrome Hughes created space all around the park and backs like Manu, Timoko, Isaako and Mulitalo brought the speed and talent they are all renowned for.

Perhaps above all else the New Zealand players embodied the spirit that you want to see when players pull on the jersey of their country – a passion for the nation and a commitment to hard work.

After their earlier loss to Australia, the New Zealand side completely flipped the script in preventing the Kangaroos from scoring any points in the final game.

Texts between Faamanu Brown and Kieran Foran show Veteran Kiwi Kieran Foran telling Brown ” Lets enjoy this last one for the year and put smiles on all of New Zealands faces”. A dedication to seeing the nation smile pushed the Kiwis through the tournament to be crowned the first ever “Pacific Champions”.


Pacific Bowl

The final contest in the Pacific was also a rematch between two teams who had played only a week before. This time Papau New Guinea avenged their 43-16 loss the week prior, taking out the final game 32-12.

With 2 sin bins and 7 tries between both teams, the matchup was electric and exciting, a thrilling rematch after a heated contest only a week before.


Ultimately, the Bowl has demonstrated  why PNG talent needs to be closely monitored by the NRL. Should the PNG bid be successful in becoming the 18th NRL team, there is the possibility possibility of experienced PNG players being great role models as they pull on a local jersey in the best rugby league competition in the world.

Nene MacDonald is a fine example, proving he still has something to offer and starring for his nation throughout their last few contests. In Sundays match, he ran for 176 metres with 83 post-contact and 5 tackle breaks. 


November 1

November 1 is a date every NRL fan has circled on their already-full season calendars. Every season, the date marks the the beginning of the trade window, with players off-contract searching for new homes, as well as transferring players beginning new journeys.

November 1 this year has been memorable and exciting, with NRL fans welcoming new talent and farewelling already-confirmed season exits. Officially, this November 1:

  • Blake Taafe, Jaeman Salmon, Stephen Crichton and Josh Curran became Bulldogs
  • Morgan Harper and Kelma Tuilagi joined the  Eels
  • Jack Wighton started his time as a Rabbitoh
  • Spencer Leniu and Dominic Young became Roosters
  • Jayden Sullivan was welcomed as a Tiger
  • Paul Alamoti and Daine Laurie joined the Panthers
  • Keenan Palasia became a Titan
  • Jack Cogger, Jed Cartwright and Tom Jenkins linked with the Knights
  • Fletcher Baker became a Bronco
  • Kaeo Weekes joined the Raiders
  • Luke Brooks, Tommy Talau, Jaxson paulo and Corey Wadell all started at the Sea Eagles
  • Kyle Flanagan became a Dragon
  • Jake Averillo, Herbie Farnworth and Thomas Flegler linked up with the Dolphins.


There have been significant talent transfers and retentions across the NRL season, and fans should look forward to the new additions at their clubs for the next season.


The Dogs Love A Utility

Adding to the signing frenzy, the Bulldogs managed to confirm 4 suspected signings in just one day. The side confirmed the additions of Kurt Mann, Jake Turpin, Drew Hutchison and Poasa Faamausili in the single announcement.

The signings show a dedication to improvement from the club, however fans do have an issue with the signings. Mann, Turpin and Hutchison combined with those of Blake Taafe and Jaeman Salmon mean the club has signed 5 utilities in just a few months.

Gus might need to be reminded that NRL sides only get 4 bench spots, with at least 2 of those usually reserved for big forwards. Nonetheless, despite being strange as a collection, each individual player listed possesses talent, and should add value to their roster in 2024.


AFB Exit?

In case you believed there was no more signing drama left, Adin Fonua-Blake provided a “hold my beer” moment.

When news broke that the Warriors star prop was prepared to leave the club to move to Sydney, heads all around Australia and New Zealand had turned. The Dally M Prop of the Year was an extremely crucial part of the Warriors extensive successes in 2023, taking his side to their first preliminary final since 2011.

It was speculated that Adin sought leave on compassionate grounds from the club, aiming to move to Sydney to be closer to his family. NRL coaches like newly-appointed Dragons coach Shane Flanagan expressed interest in acquiring the star forward before he had even found the exit out of the Warriors HQ.


AFB would be a forceful addition to any team, however fans could just not understand why he might choose to leave just as the Warriors have begun to appear to be on the rise and right before SJ’s confirmed last season.

After deliberation with Warriors CEO Cameron George, Fonua-Blake backflipped on his abrupt decision, stating he has committed to the club for at least the 2024 season. With fans grateful the prop has decided to stay, a general feeling of disloyalty and quitting cannot be shaken.



The releases of 2024 kits around the competition took the league by storm, with new designs and disappearing sponsors getting fans excited for the next season.

– The Panthers released their new Jerseys, with major sponsor OAK now missing for the first time since 2011. Home system company “MyPlace” has signed on as the teams principle partner through to the 2027 season.

– The Broncos released their 2024 Jerseys in collaboration with Asics. Their “away” kit is a white collared jersey, the first of any NRL club.

– The Eels released their 2024 kit with new sponsor “ATS”, however it’s their simplified training kit with fluro yellow which is the talk of the town.

Eels new training kit

– The Warriors released a new home and away kit, with their home shirt paying homage to their 1995 jersey.

– The Melbourne Storm dropped simplified and cleaner 2024 jerseys, with a black home and white away jersey.

– Finally, the Manly Sea Eagles released their jersey which simply adds their new logo for 2024 and beyond.



Exciting news from the NRLW space, with Titans prop Shannon Mato inking a new 4-year deal with the club.


With multi-year extensions only being instigated through the last off-season, the Gold Coast side has wasted no time in ensuring the retention of the Jillaroos prop after such an imposing season.

A key part in her side’s Grand final achievement, Mato’s deal marks the first 4 year extension this off-season, with many more anticipated over the next few months. A big congratulations to Shannon and her family, as well as the Gold Coast Titans on such a significant signing.












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3 thoughts on “The Corner Post – November 12, 2023: New Beginnings

  1. sixties

    The Bulldogs are up to something like 9 new additions to their squad for 2024, and it looks like they still have to shed players. Somehow I don’t think it will stop them from continuing to recruit.

    1. sixties

      Thanks on belay of Nat. There are quite good reading numbers on this post Matt. The replies aren’t always indicative of how many views our posts get. For example, I will get up to over 4000 views on training reports but less than 20 people might add a comment. We focus on reporting rather than trying to elicit replies.

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