List of unsigned NRL players heading into 2021

List of unsigned NRL players heading into 2021

As COVID-19 creates uncertainty over squad sizes for 2021, players without a contract face a nervous wait to see if they have a future in the NRL. Check out all the unsigned players here.

Nick Campton , The Daily Telegraph
Subscriber only
September 14, 2020 5:04pm

Tyrone May, Steven Marsters, Braydon Trindell and Jamil Hopoate are all looking to secure contracts for 2021.

With uncertainty still reigning over the size of first grade squads for next season as the NRL continues to work through the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a mad scramble for contracts as some players do all they can to keep their futures alive.

News Sport has drawn up a list of top-tier talent who are still without a club for 2021 – some, like Panthers skipper James Tamou and the Morris twins, are still courting multiple offers or are assured of another deal should they want it.

Others aren’t so lucky – they aren’t just playing for pride, they’re playing for their football lives.

Brendan Elliott’s chances of a contract may be hurt by his knee injury. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

FULLBACK

Brendan Elliot, Albert Hopoate, Caleb Aekins, Charlie Staines, Glenn McGrady, Dylan Smith, Josh Hoffman

Analysis: Elliot’s seen plenty of first grade as Tom Trbojevic’s back up in recent years, but a serious knee injury could put his chances of earning a new deal in jeopardy. Caleb Aekins and Charlie Staines have both impressed in limited minutes for Penrith - Staines in particular could have his pick of clubs after crossing for six tries in his first two matches.

Raiders winger Michael Oldfield would be a smart buy for any club. Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

WINGER

Michael Oldfield, Jordan Rapana, Marcelo Montoya, Sandor Earl, Isaac Lumelume, Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Patrick Herbert, George Jennings, Braydon McGrady, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Young Tonumaipea, Selestino Ravutaumada, Abbas Miski, Andre Niko, Richie Kennar, Ilikena Vudogo, Robert Jennings, Brett Morris

Analysis: Isaac Lumelume has impressed in his brief time in first grade but with Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr both leaving the Storm he might be difficult to pry away from Melbourne. Michael Oldfield would be a smart buy for any club in the league - through his long career, which has taken him to six different clubs, the Raiders flyer has always been a tidy and professional performer, be it as a first-string or back up outside back. Given Canberra are saving a roster spot for Jordan Rapana, Oldfield may well be available.

Steven Marsters might be staying at the Rabbitohs. Picture: Grant Trouville

CENTRE

Tim Lafai, Isiaah Tass, Dale Copley, Marion Seve, Tautau Moga, Gerard Beale, Tom Opacic, David Russell, Brad Takairangi, Braydon McGrady, Cory Denniss, Steven Marsters, Watson Heleta, Kea Pere, Ioane Seiuli, Jackson Ferris, Matthew Timoko, Jordan Kahu, Josh Morris

Analysis: South Sydney are spoilt for choice in the backline, but Steven Marsters contributions in his first three games of first grade might prove difficult for other clubs to ignore.

Marsters, who joined the Rabbitohs from the Dragons over the offseason, looks a serious prospect but former league champ Michael Ennis believes his best course may be to stay with South Sydney for the time being.

“He’s shown great skill but he’s also a really big, athletic kid who I think defensively has been most impressive,” Ennis said.

“He’s in a really good system at Souths under Wayne Bennett, with a real high quality spine, and as a centre you need that service from your spine.

“I’d be staying there as long as possible.”

Young Sharks centre Jackson Ferris and Parramatta utility Brad Takairangi would also be handy squad additions for a number of clubs.

Tyrone May has proven himself as a versatile gun for the Panthers. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

FIVE-EIGHTH

Jack Cogger, Kieran Foran, Mason Lino, Benji Marshall, Connor Watson, Adam Keighran, Jaeman Salmon, Will Smith, Dean Blore, Tyrone May, Drew Hutchinson, Jordan Rankin, Jarrett Jubloo, Tyson Gamble, Tristan Sailor

Analysis: Kieran Foran’s recent shoulder injury has thrown his future into jeopardy, Benji Marshall is facing retirement while Mason Lino has a chance to shine for the Knights and Tristan Sailor will surely find a home - but the pick among the five eighths could well be Penrith’s Tyrone May.

May spent 12 months out of the NRL due to police charges but has reinvented himself as Penrith’s utility in 2020. The 24-year old has played centre, five-eighth, second row, lock and hooker for the Panthers this season and done a fine job in each position.

What could determine May’s future is what he wants his career to look like right now.

“I think Tyrone this season has shown not only his versatility, but his quality.

“It’ll get to a point with Tyrone where he wants to establish himself a position and settle there - when that is I’m not quite sure.

FOXSPORTS2:35

Clinical Panthers pump Eels

NRL: The Penrith Panthers were at their absolute best on Friday night, dominating the Parramatta Eels at Panthers Stadium.

“All those guys have come through together, so he’s clearly enjoying his football playing with his mates at Penrith, but for other clubs he’s shown a high quality standard of skill and he’s been very strong defensively.

“He would be very, very handy for a side looking to pick someone up in a key position - if he was going to remain as a utility, I think he’d just stay at Penrith.

“Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary are playing very well, and you’ve also got Matt Burton there - he’s a big part of Penrith’s puzzle at the moment, and if a side were looking for someone in a key position he’d certainly be one they’d look at.”

Braydon Trindall may only need to wait one more season before he becomes a regular starter in the halves. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

HALFBACK

Braydon Trindall, Tyrone Roberts, Luke Metcalf, Cooper Johns, Jai Field, Lachlan Lam, Jack A Williams, Sean O’Sullivan

Analysis: Jai Field has already attracted interest from Super League, which could only increase as Parramatta get closer to the finals, and Braydon Trindall has impressed amid Cronulla’s halves injury crisis.

Ennis believes Trindall’s best option may be to remain at Cronulla for at least one more year given stars Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan are both off contract at the end of 2021.

“If I were giving young Trindall advice, I’d say to stay in the system. Obviously Morris has a big opinion of him, he’s shown that faith in him to give him an opportunity this year and another pre-season will definitely do him well,” Ennis said.

“The fact next year you’ve got Moylan and Johnson off-contract, I would remain there and continue to put pressure on those guys.

“Whilst he’s got the combinations he got there, and he’s in a system where the coach likes him, for another 12 months I would definitely look to bide my time and see what the club does with those big names.

“If they do decide to keep Johnson and Moylan, he’s shown enough that other clubs would be interested in him.”

Aiden Tolman’s NRL career appears to be winding down. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

PROP

Sauaso Sue, Aiden Tolman, Keegan Hipgrave, Max King, Josh King, Lachlan Burr, Leivaha Pulu, John Asiata, David Gower, Peni Terepo, James Tamou, Kaide Ellis, Tom Amone, Kurt Dillon, Ky Rodwell, Garrett Smith, Matt Croker, Dan Vasquez, Rhys Kennedy, Oliver Clark, Sia Soliola

Analysis: John Asiata should have no trouble securing a contract for next season and James Tamou has several clubs keen on extending his NRL career. Aiden Tolman might not be so lucky – at 31, and after 271 NRL game, his time as a regular starter might be drawing to a close.

Nathan Peats hasn’t been at his Origin best at the Titans. Picture: Jerad Williams

HOOKER

Cameron King, Nathan Peats, Danny Levi, Cameron Smith, Connor Watson, Nathaniel Roache, Reuben Cotter, Rhyse Davies, Ray Stone, Joe Lovodua, Jake Friend, Freddy Lussick, Kyle Schneider, Luke Huth, Chris Randall, Kobe Hethrington

Analysis: Danny Levi has been solid for Manly without being spectacular while Nathan Peats has not managed to recapture the form that earned him Origin selection in 2017. Joe Lovodua is a talented utility and a club could do worse than to take a chance on Nathaniel Roache – the young Kiwi is very talented, but injuries have cruelled his first grade career thus far.

Kevin Proctor would be a . (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

BACK ROW

Kayleb Milne, Kevin Proctor, Sam Stone, Corey Waddell, Tony Williams, Aidan Guerra, Brodie Jones, Isaiah Papali’i, Andrew Davey, Pat Hollis, Bailey Sironen, Jack Johns, Luca Moretti, Chris Lewis, Kelma Tuilagi, Kai O’Donnell, Pride Petterson-Robati, Jamil Hopoate, Ben Te’o, Sam McIntyre, Chris McQueen, Scott Sorensen, Josh Carr, Tom Eisenhuth, Elijah Taylor

Analysis: Arguably the deepest position. There’s something for everybody - canny veterans who can help fill out a squad (Aidan Guerra, Kevin Proctor), promising youngsters who just need a change of scenery or a consistent shot in the top grade (Isaiah Papali’i, Brodie Jones) and former stars who are after one last chance (Tony Williams, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o).

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-2020-list-of-unsigned-nrl-players-heading-into-2021/news-story/390979eadcabb6f3411ea8e68bd35437

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Patrick Mago isn’t named. I don’t recall him signing for 2021.

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There’s a few playing for contracts. Not a lot of quality in the list though.

Sia Soliola would be a handy pick up off the bench

Braydon McGrady would be a handy pickup if he recovers from his 2nd ACL injury.
He runs and tackles hard and has good hands.

Sirro should be a priority signing.

Looking at that list of backrowers he’s the pick.

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Talk keeps growing though that he’s gonna go to Manly as they can give him a permanent starting spot in the second row alongside his brother.

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Not a lot of talent on the market for next year, though I wouldn’t mind picking up Connor Watson. See him as a very useful bench for 6/7/9, primarily 9. I think Cook may be best as a 60- 65 min player.

Would also be keen to talk to Proctor. He’s a professional and plays left edge; solid defender and ball runner. Would be a handy pick up.

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I agree love to see Siro stay however he will be a bench player next year. So if he chooses to chase the $$$ I’m sure we can pick up another handy backrower to play off the bench.

Yep, he could put some bite into the backrow.

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James Tamou is an interesting one.

Can’t say I’ve specifically been looking at him when watching Penrith games but his stats are outstanding and he is still only 31 despite it feeling like he has been around forever.

He is bloody durable too. Not many props would have his record. He is just about to hit 20 games a season or more for the last 10 years. That’s amazing.

I’d go to $500k to get him to lead this pack.

263 games under the belt, never misses a tackle, 40-50 minutes of quality and a real hard head, big body in the middle.

One of the lesser clubs will probably offer him way more, but he’d be ideal to lead this young pack and help out the ever improving Tom Burgess.

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Why wouldn’t we be signing him as a starting left edge?

He’s playing 80 minutes has a great appetite for work and is only a youngster.

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Mcqueen played origin and was capable of going the 80. In our premiership side he played an important role off the bench.

Our back row will be very strong next season, Baileys energy and utility value will be extremely useful from the bench.

The strength of our bench has been instrumental in our form turnaround and why we looked ordinary from the 30th minute last week. A bench of Bailey, Koala, Knight and Nicholls/Sele/Mago would be right up there with the best in the comp.

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Arrow comes into Lock and Cam Murray will switch to left edge… Bailey would play off the bench if he stays but will unfortunately be at Manly next year

I’d rather start with Liam Knight at lock.

We had John Sutton and Ben Teo in the run on side and a quality youngster by the name of Kyle Turner as well.

Our backrow is very strong now.

I’d rather have Arrow coming from the bench to give Murray a spell.

Tom Tatola Murray
Knight, Koala , Sele , Arrow/Nichols.

Sua Sirro 80 minute backrowers or Murray pushes to an edge during the game if one needs a rest.

If all our blokes are fit I have Nichols and Arrow fighting it out for the last bench spot. I believe Knight Koala and Sele are all harder to stop than Arrow .
Just my opinion.

He would be great for 2 yrs but I reckon you’re about $150 -$200k short of what he could get elsewhere.

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He’s be a great signing. I was listening to some Penrith players speak and they said he’s an amazing leader.

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You’ll change your mind pretty quickly next season I reckon.

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Agree but if signing with manly is true then Johns has to be a priority. He’s out with a busted finger but I like what I’ve seen so far

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