Bulldogs backrower in demand, Tigers sign Dragons centre Taane Milne

THE Bulldogs are at risk of losing a talented backrower.

The incredibly kind act from a NSW legend while in Origin camp.

Plus, the Dragons back leaving the Red V, as Private Ryan takes a look behind the scenes of the greatest game of all.

EXCLUSIVE: TIGERS LAND RED V GUN

Wests Tigers incredible recruitment drive under Ivan Cleary continues.

Private Ryan can reveal the joint venture has landed the signature of Taane Milne on a two-year-deal.

A centre with footwork and speed, Milne is a Fijian international with 12 first grade games to his name.

Competing with Tim Lafai for the left centre spot, Taane Milne’s club switch comes after Lafai was re-signed on a long-term deal by the Dragons last week.

Milne had unseated Lafai in the top grade last year, but the tables have turned in 2017.

Enter the Tigers, who have four outside backs off-contract this year.

 

The 22-year-old made his NRL debut for the Dragons last year after graduating from the Roosters’ NYC side.

Having added Chris McQueen, Russell Packer and Josh Reynolds to the squad, the Tigers have brought in some speed to their backline, with former Storm centre Mahe Fonua and now Milne on their 2018 roster.

Despite the best efforts of the Titans, don’t expect Ash Taylor to re-sign anytime soon.

Private Ryan is aware of three rival clubs who have discussed making a play for the talented half as soon as November 1 hits, which is the date when clubs can start to negotiate with players off contract the following season.

While the Titans are confident of re-signing the half, they’ll have to pay top dollar to do so.

YOUNG PUP IN DEMAND

Canterbury could lose one of their most promising young backrowers in Adam Elliott with four NRL clubs chasing his signature.

Newcastle have already been linked to the Country Origin representative but another three teams including the Bulldogs are in the hunt.

Adam Elliott of the Bulldogs is tackled.

With the Dogs under pressure to free up some cash after signing Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran for next season, the club is restricted in what they can offer Elliott.

While Elliott graduated through the grades, if it comes down to the dollars, the blue and whites will struggle to keep him. Private Ryan has been told their offer is around the $200,000-a-season mark with little wriggle room.

DID YOU KNOW …

Whenever new pairs of boots arrive at Belmore for the Bulldogs players they leave the empty boxes in Josh Morris’ locker area. It’s a prank which has turned into a tradition.

DID YOU KNOW II …

Why Blues targetted Oates

Why Blues targetted Oates

Wade Graham played 20s Origin against the likes of Ben Hunt, Andrew McCullough and current Queensland lock Josh McGuire.

Graham was playing five-eighth at the time with an unlikely partner in crime. So who was in his team?

“We had Lachlan Coote, Jarrod Croker and Kieran Foran actually played in ours. That was before he played for the Kiwis,” Graham told Private Ryan.

SPOTTED

NSW boss Dave Trodden entertaining business guru Mark Bouris at Origin I in Brisbane.

SPOTTED II

Ricky Leutele footing the bill for his teammates’ coffee after losing a game of credit card roulette on Friday.

ONE TO WATCH

Troy Dargan in action for the Eels.

Troy Dargan. The Parramatta NYC halfback is well credentialed. A product of Westfield Sports High, Dargan, who turns 20 this season, is an Australian Schoolboys representative.

Mixing his season between NYC and the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, Dargan represented the NSW under 16 indigenous side in 2013.

Fast forward four years and the crafty half wore the No.7 last Wednesday as the 20s Origin teams fought it out at Suncorp.

A strong runner with a handy kicking game, Dargan is off-contract this season.

PLAYERS’ PLAYER

Wade Graham was so impressed with both Andrew Fifita and James Tedesco that he gave them a point each when asked for his ‘players, player’ nomination after Origin I.

SHHHHH

The biggest talking point between player agents and recruitment officers last week has been talk of a certain Sydney club making a $900,000-a-season play for a half still under contract.

This player will need a release from his contract for 2018 in order to accept the deal.

MR NICE GUY

Captain Cordner's rare double

Captain Cordner’s rare double

Your columnist spent last week in Origin camp with the NSW side. On the last day in Kingscliff before relocating to Brisbane, I was sitting in the lobby with the great Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach when a woman walked into the lobby.

Blocker was holding a NSW team polo in his hand and stood up to acknowledge her as she came over to where we were sitting.

“Did you bring a permanent marker?”, he asked her.

She did and handed it over. He then started scribbling on the shirt — to Garry. The smile on the woman’s face was infectious.

She thanked Blocker, told him this shirt will be a great surprise for her husband and left.

Former player Steve Roach with Jarryd Hayne at NSW training.

I asked Blocker what that was all about and he told me he met the lady the day prior. She and her husband had recently moved into the neighbourhood across from the team hotel.

Shortly after moving in, Garry became ill and was still struggling.

When he found out Garry was not only a Blues fan but a Blocker fan, he wanted to do something nice and told the lady to come back to the team hotel on the Tuesday morning.

It was a small gesture but an important one. Well done Block!

There’s plenty of players doing good in the game but there’s still a few who could take a leaf out of your book.