NRL playmakers get on the merry-go-round - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL playmakers get on the merry-go-round

By Steve Jancetic 23/07/2010 04:55:32 PM Comments (0)

Canberra remain keen on a one-year cameo from veteran halfback Brett Kimmorley, but their faith in young playmaker Josh McCrone has ruled the Raiders out of the hunt for Manly premiership-winning skipper Matt Orford.

In what shapes as moving weekend with playmakers across the NRL set to make a decisions on their future, Penrith youngster Wade Graham looks set to head east in 2011 as he chases a permanent starting spot at Cronulla.

The Raiders are desperate to have Kimmorley mentor McCrone in the nation's capital next season, though the lure of a mapped out post-football career in coaching and the media in Sydney are proving an obstacle to Canberra's chances of success.

But a play for Orford is not on the cards, with Raiders chief executive Don Furner adamant that McCrone is Canberra's No.7 of the future.

"He'd (Kimmorley) be an ideal leader for us for a year and teach Josh McCrone and the like, as was Trent Barrett, we tried to get him but he retired," said Furner.

"The reality is if we were going to chase someone like Matt Orford ... then we'd be putting a line through Josh McCrone, whereas getting a Trent Barrett for a year or a Brett Kimmorley for a year gives us the ability to bring confidence out of Josh and bring him along slowly.

"We've got a lot of faith in Josh, but when you've got a rookie seven, a rookie nine and a rookie one, there's a lot of pressure on the seven."

Orford, one year into a three-year deal with Super League side Bradford, is currently in Australia as he recovers from season-ending shoulder surgery.

Despite Bradford declaring they wanted to see him play out his contract, the 32-year-old is reportedly keen to return to the NRL, where he is believed to be chasing a two-year deal.

His options may become clearer after the weekend, with Barrett having kick-started the decision making process for off-contract playmakers when he announced on Thursday this would be his final season in rugby league.

Barrett's departure has created a vacancy at the Sharks, and it appears the opportunity to assume a leadership role at the club and the proximity to family and friends helped sway 19-year-old Graham to link with Cronulla over an offer from North Queensland.

Manager Mark Stewart said a final decision would be announced after the weekend.

"We were hoping to have it done today but they were travelling to Melbourne at lunchtime and he'll be away with the team in Melbourne this weekend," Stewart said on Friday.

"So he thought it best that he didn't interrupt the team and he'll have a decision on Monday."

Once regarded as the brightest prospect to emerge from the Penrith area since former Australian Test skipper Brad Fittler, Graham's capture is a massive boost for the Sharks who have been left reeling this year by the departure of coach Ricky Stuart, chief executive Richard Fisk and now Barrett.

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