Dragons coach Shane Flanagan has stepped up his efforts to lure Joey Manu to the Red V, saying if he was to make the switch he could be the club's next captain. Flanagan has made it well-known how much he wants Manu at the club and is attempting to seize on the opportunity of the Roosters centre coming off contract at the end of 2024, meaning he is currently free to negotiate with rival NRL clubs.
The Dragons are reportedly set to table a $5 million mega-deal for Manu which includes offering the New Zealand representative the fullback role if he makes the switch. That deal has now been made even more enticing with Flanagan saying he can have "whatever he wants" including the captaincy.
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"I'm really, really doubtful he'll leave the Roosters, but I just wanted his management to know that if he wanted, he could be captain, fullback, do whatever he wants," Flanagan told 9News. "I'd definitely want to have a chat with him, but it's highly unlikely it'll ever get to that stage."
"I'm not saying I'll take the captaincy off Ben (Hunt), but I want to get a quality player like Joey, I need to entice him to come down to the club. He's a quality player, but let's be really honest, I don't think he'll move. "
Flanagan also insists that halfback Ben Hunt will stay put, despite the 33-year-old requesting to leave the club last season." Benny wants to win and that's all it's about," he said. " There's a lot of other players, staff and supporters here that want to win football games. That's why Ben was a bit frustrated and obviously another club came knocking on the door and gave him a possible opportunity, but we've had many conversations."
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It has been reported that Flanagan is keen to add numerous quality players to his roster, including want-away Dally M prop of the year Addin Fonua-Blake. The Saints are set to table a $3 million offer, according to Fox Sports Australia, amid reports suggesting Fonua-Blake wants a move to a Sydney club to be closer to his parents, who aren't in good health.
Fonua-Blake's Tongan teammates Hame Sele, Moses Suli and Ben Murdoch-Masila, who will all pull on the Red V next year, are said to be trying to convince the Dally M prop of the year to make the switch. It is understood talks between Fonua-Blake and the Dragons will ramp up when he returns from holidaying Bali.
It is understood that the Dragons will aim to bring in the New Zealand star for 2024 but will ultimately settle for 2025 if they cannot persuade the Warriors to release him from the final year of his contract. An official from a Sydney club told Wide World of Sports that the Warriors would only consider letting him go this year if they were to receive a like-for-like player in return.
"It's no guarantee they will release him," the official reportedly said. "They want an equivalent trade. There are not many options available to them."
When asked about the possibility of bringing Fonua-Blake to the club, Flanagan told AAP: "We'll be monitoring what happens there, that's for sure. We want good players and he fits into that category. Without a doubt we'll look at it because he's got a history with our club."
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