NRL great Cameron Smith will play for Melbourne Storm during the 2020 season.

Smith, 36, became the first player to reach 400 NRL games during 2019, consolidating his position among the greats.

The former Australia and Queensland star, who is Storm captain, will play on next year, it was confirmed on Thursday.

"I've had a good break after another pretty big season in 2019. I've had time to relax and put my feet up and I'm feeling pretty fresh now," the hooker said.

"I'm looking forward to next year.

"I've been given some 'long service' leave [from training] as I had last year as well so I won't be back until the New Year.

"That seemed to work really well last year. It gives me plenty of time to freshen up and get ready for another gruelling season.

"I'm excited to see the squad improve on last year … and seeing the younger guys go to another level again in 2020."

Smith played 27 games last season and finished as runner-up to Sydney Roosters star James Tedesco for the Dally M Medal.

Storm finished top of the table before falling to a Preliminary Final loss to eventual premiers the Roosters.

NRL veteran Issac Luke has joined the St George Illawarra Dragons on a one-year deal.

Luke, 32, will enter his 14th season as he looks to add to his 271 games in the NRL.

The hooker has previously played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand Warriors, while he is also a 43-time New Zealand international.

"Everyone is already aware of Issac's career in regard to his longevity," Dragons director of rugby league pathways and list management Ian Millward said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Issac has walked the path of the NRL over a long period of time now and will be great for our squad.

"To have a really established back-up player of his calibre is exciting. Our coaching staff were keen to have him on our roster with plans in mind regarding how they'd like to play him, which have already been discussed with Issac as well as Cameron [McInnes].

"With Issac now on board, we have 25 players on our roster [and] 23 of them have played NRL and while that includes those who have just received their first taste of first grade like Jackson Ford and Jason Saab, we are pleased with Issac's injection of experience."

The Dragons struggled during the 2019 season, winning just eight games to finish 15th.

Brothers Jake and Tom Trbojevic have signed six-year deals with NRL side Manly Sea Eagles.

Jake, 25, and Tom, 23, have both played for Australia and New South Wales, and have now signed on with Manly until at least the end of 2026.

The duo have won four of the past five best and fairest awards at Manly, with Jake clinching three of those – in 2015, 2018 and 2019.

"The Sea Eagles mean the world to Tom and me. We're proud to be Manly men," Jake said in a statement on Friday.

"To know that we will be playing together for the Sea Eagles for a further six years after next season is an incredible feeling.

"I believe this club is certainly heading in the right direction. I can't wait to get back to Lottoland and play in front of our great members again next season."

Tom was also delighted to re-sign with the Sea Eagles, eager to deliver a premiership to the club.

"Jake and I love playing for Manly. It's our home," he said.

"I know this team can certainly be finals contenders for many years to come, and hopefully, we can lift that NRL premiership trophy in the near future.

"I'm really looking forward to returning to the field next season and playing in front of our fantastic members at Lottoland."

Manly made the finals in 2019 before suffering a semi-final loss to South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Canterbury Bulldogs playmaker Kieran Foran is set to miss up to 12 months as he prepares to undergo further surgery on his shoulder.

Foran, 29, underwent surgery on Tuesday, the Bulldogs said, after hurting his shoulder during New Zealand's win over Great Britain earlier this month.

The NRL club said Foran would need between nine and 12 months to recover, likely ruling him out for the entire 2020 season.

"Kieran Foran yesterday underwent re-constructive surgery on his injured shoulder," a statement read on Wednesday.

"The surgery revealed that there was new and additional damage to the shoulder that will require Kieran to undergo further surgery later this month.

"At this stage the rehabilitation period for recovery has been estimated as being between nine and 12 months."

Foran has played just 26 matches across two seasons since joining the Bulldogs from the New Zealand Warriors ahead of the 2018 campaign.

The Bulldogs finished the 2019 season in 12th place in the ladder.

Eddie Jones fended off reports he interested in an NRL coaching role but is unsure how long he will remain England boss.

Jones has been linked with a switch to rugby league to take over at South Sydney Rabbitohs following England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.

Rugby Australia expressed an interest in appointing Jones for a second spell as Wallabies head coach, but it was told he is unavailable.

Jones is contracted to England until 2021 but the canny Australian gave little away when asked about his future as he prepares to coach the Barbarians against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Asked about a potential move to the NRL, he told Sky Sports News: "There's all sorts of stories at the moment.

"I saw a story about me going to France, stories about going to Fiji - which is definitely a lot warmer than it is here."

Quizzed whether he would stay in his current role for the 2023 World Cup in France, he replied: "It's not really my decision. As you know, coaches are contracted by either a club or a union and we've got to perform. That's the only thing I'm worried about."

Jones also stated that, in hindsight, he picked the wrong team to face the Springboks.

"To a large degree, it was just one of those games. Some games you get caught. They started the game well. Things came off for them, things didn't go well for us." he added.

"We got on the back foot and couldn't get back on the front foot. If there's one thing I could have done now that I would have done, I would have changed the selection a little bit.

"I continually in the World Cup changed selection from game to game - in hindsight, I probably should have refreshed the squad a little bit.

"I'm not going to talk about individuals now. I just should have maybe changed the order of the 23."

Sydney Roosters will get the opportunity to secure back-to-back World Club Challenge titles when they travel to take on St Helens on February 22.

The Roosters beat Wigan Warriors to be crowned champions this year and will return to Lancashire for a showdown with Saints 12 months later.

Trent Robinson's side retained the NRL title last month and will be out to maintain their 100 per cent World Club Challenge record when they lock horns with the Super League champions.

Robinson said: "This is an important fixture on the rugby league calendar and we're looking forward to heading to England to compete against St Helens for the 2020 World Club Challenge title."

New head coach Kristian Woolf is looking forward to what will be Saints' first appearance in the fixture since 2015, when they lost to South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Woolf said: "We are really excited about the opportunity to face the Roosters in such a prestigious fixture.

"It will be a great challenge for us to test ourselves against the current World Club champions and we are aiming to stand up and represent Super League and this part of the world in what will be a huge game."

Brisbane Broncos forward David Fifita said he has learned a "big lesson" after spending time in a Bali jail following an alleged nightclub altercation.

The teenager was arrested after a reported incident with a security guard last week.

Queensland Maroons back-rower Fifita was released and has now returned to Australia, speaking to the media after touching down on Tuesday.

Fifita will explain his version of events to an NRL Integrity Unit and the 19-year-old expressed his gratitude to those who played a part in getting him back home.

"There has been a lot going on behind the scenes and I am really grateful for that," said Fifita.

"I have learnt a big lesson from what I’ve been through over the past few days."

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg warned players to be more responsible off the field, or else risk putting their careers in danger.

"It's a timely reminder that players need to be acutely aware of the position they put themselves in," Greenberg said on Tuesday.

"I don't want to see players miss games but if they continue to make poor decisions then they'll suffer the consequences. Players know the decisions they make are important.”

"In relation to David Fifita I am pleased he is home because it would've been a harrowing experience. I'll wait for the report from the Integrity Unit [before deciding if any action is necessary].

"I don't want to have another off-season of players doing the wrong thing. I get frustrated because there are so many good stories to be told. I want to talk about the great things our players do off the field."

David Fifita has been released from a Bali jail just over two days after the Brisbane Broncos forward was allegedly involved in a nightclub brawl.

The 19-year-old second-rower was arrested after a reported altercation with a security guard on Friday.

The Queensland Maroons State of Origin prodigy is no longer in custody and will return to Australia on Tuesday.

A Broncos statement released on Monday said: "The Broncos and local legal representatives have worked with Indonesian authorities to ensure David's release.

"David was respectful of Indonesian law and cooperated fully with local law enforcement throughout his incarceration.

"The Broncos have been working closely with the NRL Integrity Unit, and David will outline his version of events to the Unit in coming days.

"He will arrive home in Brisbane tomorrow, accompanied by a Broncos official who travelled to Bali to provide support after David was taken into custody."

New South Wales prop Daniel Saifiti has extended his contract with the Newcastle Knights for a further two seasons.

Saifiti, 23, will remain at the club until at least the end of 2022.

The front-rower made 21 appearances as the Knights finished 11th this season and becomes the first player to agree to an extension under new coach Adam O'Brien.

"While there have been some tough times, we showed improvement this season and are getting better," said Saifiti, who earned a State of Origin debut in June.

"We've signed some quality players in recent times and that has certainly helped with my development.

"I owe a lot to this club. My brother Jacob and I came here as teenagers to play under-20s and I've been living my dream ever since."

Paul Gallen has indicated he is set to fight former NRL rival Sonny Bill Williams in 2020, provided the prize money is evenly split.

After featuring for New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Williams has made headlines this week, switching back to rugby league to sign a two-year contract with newly promoted Super League club Toronto Wolfpack.

The 34-year-old's deal will reportedly make him the highest-paid rugby league player in the world, though it has now been reported a clause in his Toronto contract will allow Williams to fight Gallen in a heavyweight bout next year.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper report the fight will take place next October, with the two-time Rugby World Cup winner having initially agreed to face Gallen, who retired from the NRL at the end of last season, in 2017, only for the fight to be cancelled.

Gallen, 38, is taking on former AFL player Barry Hall in a heavyweight bout on Friday.

"I've got to deal with Barry Hall first and get him out of the way... we'll worry about Sonny later," Gallen told the Daily Telegraph.

"It will be a 50-50 split or it won't be happening. Everything was lopsided his way last time. Not anymore. I bring as much to the fight as he does.

"He'll make his couple of million so there will be no excuses for him to back away again."

Williams' agent, Khoder Nasser, shot down Gallen's claims.

"If Gal honestly thinks he's entitled to a 50-50 cut, the poor bugger has had too many head knocks," Nasser told the Telegraph.

Williams holds a 7-0 record as a professional boxer and beat veteran South African Frans Botha - who had previously fought the likes of Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko - by unanimous decision in 2013 to take the WBA International Heavyweight belt.

Latrell Mitchell could have played his last game for Sydney Roosters after the NRL champions withdrew the offer of a new contract for the centre.

Australia international Mitchell, linked with the Canterbury Bulldogs, has another season left on his current deal and was given the option of an extension by the premiers.

The Roosters on Tuesday revealed a new deal is no longer on the table after the 22-year-old refused to commit beyond 2020.

A club statement said: "The Sydney Roosters have today advised the management of Latrell Mitchell that the club's offer for 2021 and beyond has been withdrawn following discussions with Latrell today.

"Latrell has expressed that he would like to explore his options for season 2021, however he remains under contract with the Roosters for season 2020."

Mitchell said earlier in the day: "I'll do what's right for my family and I. No one has any influence on my decisions.

"I've moved out of home at age 15 to give myself a life. Now I have the responsibility of giving my kids a life I didn't have."

New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has signed a two-year contract extension with Canterbury Bulldogs.

The full-back made an impressive impact after joining the Bulldogs from Penrith Panthers in June.

Watene-Zelezniak, 24, has been rewarded with a new deal that will keep him at Belmore until the end of the 2022 NRL season.

Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill said "Dallin is a quality individual who has really fitted into the Bulldogs culture on and off the field.

"His performances in the full-back role were outstanding last season and he also brings a level of leadership that has greatly enhanced our team.

"We are delighted that he has committed his future to our club and that he has bought into our values.

"He is extremely well respected around the playing group and we look forward to seeing him continue to flourish next season."

Brisbane Broncos star Matt Gillett has confirmed he will retire from rugby league with immediate effect after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

Australia international Gillett suffered a severe injury late in the 2019 campaign, with medical experts informing the second-rower that surgery is not yet an option.

Gillett has accepted the advice and announced his retirement on Thursday - a decision which comes the day after South Sydney Rabbitohs' Sam Burgess was similarly forced to quit due to a shoulder problem.

The 31-year-old's retirement brings to an end a career that included 200 NRL matches for the Broncos.

Gillett also made 20 State of Origin appearances for Queensland Maroons, as well as earning 12 Kangaroos Test caps.

"This has been a huge shock to me and my family, and we have taken time over recent weeks to consider what we should do," Gillett said. "I have decided to take the medical advice from the experts and call time on my career.

"I have plenty to be thankful for – I have been part of a great club here at the Broncos for my whole career. I've played for my state and for my country with some legends of the game."

The Broncos announced Gillett would be staying with the club "in an off-field capacity".

A chronic shoulder condition has forced South Sydney Rabbitohs and England star Sam Burgess to retire from rugby league, effective immediately.

Burgess made the announcement on Wednesday, bringing a premature end to the 30-year-old's playing days due to his troublesome left shoulder problem.

The England international, who also represented his country in rugby union, led the Rabbitohs to NRL glory in 2014 as he won the Clive Churchill Medal for his efforts.

Burgess, who struggled in 2019, played 182 matches for the Rabbitohs after arriving in 2010, having made 88 appearances for Super League outfit Bradford Bulls.

"To all South Sydney members and fans, fans of the game and even the supporters that aren't my biggest fans, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for making my career what it was in the NRL," Burgess – an Aviva Premiership runner-up with Bath in 2014-15 – wrote in an emotional message via the Rabbitohs.

"I have loved absolutely every minute; the highs, the lows; the Grand Final; coming home; my injuries; my dates with the judiciary. It really has been a fantastic ride.

"This decision was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my life, however the decision was out of my hands essentially. I am no longer able to be myself day in, day out on the training field and consequently the playing field.

"I'd like to encourage everyone to smile as they read this. Let's all remember what we have done together as a club over the past decade rather than what's not to be in the coming years. 

"We have some amazing young men at the club and it's in safe hands. I will stay close and help grow the club continually in any way I can."

Rabbitohs head coach Wayne Bennett added: "He was one of the drawcards for me in coming to coach at South Sydney.

"His leadership and capabilities on the field match the man he is off it. I thought it was a real blow to the game when he left to play Rugby Union but I’m glad he saw the light and came back.

"I'm glad to have played a small role in his career and I feel blessed that he has been part of mine. I know he has made the right decision.

"He'll be a South Sydney man forever and he should be very proud of everything he has achieved over the past 14 years."

Manly Sea Eagles hooker Manase Fainu has been charged by police after an alleged stabbing outside a church in Sydney’s south west.

The 21-year-old handed himself into Liverpool Police Station on Tuesday morning and will face court later in the day after being denied bail, following an incident at a dance festival on Friday night.

Fainu was charged with "wound person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, affray and recklessly causing grievous bodily harm in company," according to a New South Wales Police statement.

The statement added: "Police will allege in court that the man was involved in an altercation when he produced a knife and stabbed another man."

Speaking outside the police station, Fainu's legal representative Elias Tabchouri told the Sydney Morning Herald: "Our client is innocent, we believe in our client and we will follow other avenues now to secure his liberty."

Fainu will automatically be suspended by the NRL as part of their 'no-fault stand down rule'.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said the rule made no judgment on guilt or innocence, but protected the reputation of the game and its stakeholders. 

"The no-fault stand down rule provides for the automatic stand down of players on a no-fault basis where they are charged with a serious criminal offence," he said. 

"Given the charges, Manase Fainu is automatically subject to the no-fault stand down rule, which will remain in place until the outcome of the court proceedings."

 

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