Wayne Bennett has finally landed a former origin star who had been strongly linked to a move to the Dolphins after he was released.
The Dolphins have signed Broncos center Brenko Lee on a two-year deal beginning in club’s inaugural NRL season.
Lee was granted a release from the final year of his Broncos contract, allowing him to link up with cousin, Edrick Lee, who has already put pen to paper with the 17th franchise.
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The pair played together at the Raiders and also made their Origin debuts together in 2020, being coached by Wayne Bennett in the series win.
The 26-year-old has played 70 NRL games to date and has played his trade for the Raiders, Bulldogs, Titans, Broncos and was a premiership winner with the Storm.
“We are very pleased to sign Brenko for our NRL debut,” said Dolphins chief executive Terry Reader said in a club statement.
“He performed well at origin level under our coach Wayne Bennett and has also played at the Storm alongside Felise Kaufusi and the Bromwich brothers, who will form the core of our leadership group.
“Let’s not forget he has also won an NRL Grand Final.
“And importantly, Brenko is from Brisbane so understands the history and success the Dolphins have had in their 75-year history.”
Vaughan’s move abroad
Bulldogs enforcer Paul Vaughan has signed a two-year contract with the Warrington Wolves in the Super League.
The former Blues and Kangaroos prop will make the move for the 2023 and 2024 seasons after joining the Canterbury-Bankstown club on a one-year deal in 2022.
Vaughan has made 196 NRL appearances, representing Australia twice and the Blues on six ocasions.
“I’m very excited to be making the move to Warrington next year,” Vaughan said in a club statement.
“I’ve been extremely lucky with my career in the NRL and I’ve always wanted to come over and test myself in the UK.
“I played in a World Cup in England back in 2013 and I always said to myself if given the opportunity to play over there I’d like to take it up.
“I’m close to playing my 200th game over here and I feel I’ve still got a lot more to give with my footy. I’m coming over with really good intentions to put my best foot forward. I’m my own harshest critic and I like to get the best out of myself week in week out.
“I just want to play good footy and to be part of a successful team. I can’t wait to get started.”
Wolves coach Daryl Powell explained he was excited to recruit Vaughan who has recorded “outstanding” stats so far in his 2022 Bulldogs campaign.
“He hasn’t missed a tackle in his last two games for example and made 177 metres last week,” Powell said in a club statement.
“He’s a big ball carrier, defends and moves well and works hard. I’ve had a couple of Zoom chats with him and I really like how he comes across as a bloke as well.
“We’ve talked a lot about size and being a fearsome pack and we’ve worked hard to get that in place for next season.”
Knights young gun joins Eels
The Eels have signed Knights young gun Jirah Momoisea on a two-year deal from 2023.
Momoisea, 23, has made eight appearances for Newcastle, having come off the bench for the first five games in 2022.
Injuries have plagued the young gun’s career but he’ll provide the Eels with a front-row option after the club loses big names including Nathan Brown, Marata Niukore and Isaiah Papali’i.
“Jirah is a talented young forward who has a great attitude both on and off the field. We’re looking forward to welcoming him to our lob next season,” Eels general manager of football Mark O’Neill said in a club statement.
Momoisea was poached from New Zealand by the Storm in 2017, spending a year in the club’s esteemed academy before joining the Knights in 2018.
His 193cm frame makes him an imposing figure in the front-row and the Eels will be hoping to develop the young gun.
Panthers lock in young gun
The Panthers have locked in one of their brightest young stars with Izack Tago signing a new deal to stay at the foot of the mountains.
The 20-year-old centre, who was already contracted for 2023, has extended until at least the end of the 2025 season.
“Re-signing with the club that I debuted for means so much to me. To stay with the boys that I’ve played with over the last few years makes it even better,” Tago said.
“I’m proud to represent this area. I’ve been here my whole life and this place is home to me. I’m excited for the opportunity to represent the community.”
It follows extensions for Taylan May, Sunia Turuva, Lindsay Smith, Ativalu Lisati and Liam Henry over the past couple of weeks
“It’s great to see another local junior commit his future to the club, and we’re thrilled to see Izack remain in Panthers colors until at least the end of 2025,” Panthers Rugby League CEO Matt Cameron said.
“It’s been a significant week for Izack, who was also selected in the Samoa squad for next week’s Pacific Test against Cook Islands – a great reward for his hard work and dedication.
“Izack has made the most of his opportunity in first grade this season, and we’re excited to see him develop his game at Panthers over the next three years.”
Originally published as Bennett swoops as Bronco released; Bulldogs gun heading abroad: NRL Transfer Center