‘Sprung’ NRL team’s raid ignites frenzyIt’s been a miserable year for Canberra.


Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has been busted flying to Brisbane to meet with Broncos stars on a hit and run mission.

Maguire was spotted flying north on Wednesday before it was revealed on Fox League’s NRL 360 that the premiership wining-mentor and Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe had met with Brisbane stars Tevita Pangai Jr and Jamayne Isaako.

The sighting has exposed a wild contract rollercoaster that has also revealed major recruitment moves by the Broncos.

The Broncos are reportedly open to allowing star forward Pangai and fullback Isaako to break their contracts early to move to the Tigers at the end of the 2021 season.

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That move would allow the Broncos to target the star signings of Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson and Storm rising star Nicho Hynes.

NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent said Wednesday night the Broncos and Tigers are involved in “back-room” dealings with players they aren’t technically allowed to be speaking to without the clearance from rival clubs.

Kent said the Broncos have turned their attention to Hynes and Hodgson after locking down Kotoni Staggs and Adam Reynolds.

Before then, however, the Broncos have now been revealed to be in discussions with the Tigers after giving permission to the Tigers for them to start talking with Pangai and Isaako.

Fox League reporter James Hooper said it is now up the Tigers to negotiate a deal with the Broncos to let them leave early.

“Sprung. They’ve been caught red-handed,” Hooper said.

“The reason they were on the plane is because they’ve been doing some back-room negotiating and they had manoeuvred to get permission to speak to Tevita Pangai Jr and Jamayne Isaako about potentially joining Wests Tigers next year.

“You don’t put your top dogs on a hit and run mission on a plane to Brisbane to sign a park player.”

Pangai signed a three year extension in 2019.

Isaako signed a four-year extension in 2018.

Their departures would clear up further cap space for the Broncos with the club already reportedly set to cut Anthony Milford adrift and are also hoping to off-load forward Matt Lodge.

The Broncos’ roster overhaul would take a dramatic step if talks progress with Hynes and Hodgson.

The Canberra star has been around a struggling Raiders team this year, but he remains contracted through to the end of the 2022 season — meaning the Raiders must give any rival club permission before they speak to the Englishman.

Hynes earlier this week said he had not received an offer yet from the Broncos and said he hoped to decide his future in coming weeks.

The 24-year-old has been a revelation for the Storm, but is expected to be forced to move clubs with the Storm already stocked with Cameron Munster and Ryan Papenhuyzen.

“This is all backroom dealings stuff. They don’t want this stuff out,” Kent said of the Broncos’ moves.

“They want to be further down the road before it becomes public. It’s still early enough that it could all boil over very quickly.”

Broncos great Ben Ikin said on NRL 360 the Broncos’ dealing appears to leave No. 9 Jake Turpin with an uncertain future.



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