Promising playmaker Dylan Brown has agreed a three-year contract extension that will keep him with Parramatta Eels until 2023.

Brown impressed during his debut NRL season and will reportedly play under improved terms next year before earning AUS$2million across the following three campaigns.

The 19-year-old, who represented New Zealand in the World Cup Nines in October, made 15 appearances for the Eels in 2019, contributing four tries and five assists.

Parramatta are understood to have moved to tie him down in a bid to ward off interest from a number of NRL rivals.

"The signing of Dylan Brown aligns with our development club philosophy and we're extremely proud of the person and player he has become. We're excited about the future ahead for our members and fans," said Eels general manager Mark O'Neill.

Melbourne Storm star Suliasi Vunivalu will switch to rugby union from 2021 after signing a two-year deal with the Reds.

Vunivalu, 24, played union as a teenager before being signed by the Storm, where he made his NRL debut in 2016.

The Fiji international has scored 72 tries in 94 NRL games for Melbourne, helping the Storm win the 2017 premiership.

Vunivalu will honour the final year of his contract with the Storm before joining the Reds in 2021, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

"The Storm has been wonderful to me, and I'm continuing to make great memories here," he said.

"However, the offer from rugby union was too good for me to refuse, especially considering I have a young family who I want to do the best for.

"I was a rugby union player before switching to league and always thought going back to rugby was an option for my career and I never wanted to play for another NRL club.

"I'd hate to have to go up against Storm and my mates. Now this decision is public, I'm concentrating 100 per cent on my final year in Melbourne and looking forward to doing the best I can for the boys, the coaches and all our members and fans.

"I won't be making any further comments on rugby until the NRL season is done."

Vunivalu was the top try-scorer in the NRL in 2016 and 2017, crossing 23 times in each campaign.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn was delighted with the signing of the wing.

"As a group we look forward to welcoming Suliasi Vunivalu back to rugby and to Queensland in 2021," he said.

"Suliasi grew up playing rugby in New Zealand before becoming one of the NRL's most exciting players.

"He's an impressive talent and has an awesome ability to find the try-line. He brings good experience too with almost 100 NRL games for Melbourne and 12 rugby league Tests for Fiji. Suliasi will be a great addition to our programme."

Trent Merrin will return to the St George Illawarra Dragons after signing a two-year deal with the NRL club.

Merrin, 30, spent this year with the Leeds Rhinos in the Super League, but is back with the club he started his career at in 2009.

The former Australia and New South Wales representative played 133 NRL games for the Dragons, including the 2010 Grand Final win, before joining the Penrith Panthers in 2016.

Merrin replaces Luciano Leilua, who was released from the final year of his contract, in the Dragons squad.

"Trent could've jumped like a kangaroo all the way back to Australia he's that excited to come back to the Dragons," Dragons director of rugby league pathways and list management Ian Millward said in a statement.

"Trent has indicated to the club several times over the past 12 months that he'd love to come home; an opportunity for this has since come up after the club granted Luciano his requested release.

"Luciano indicated he wouldn't be renewing his contract with the Dragons beyond the 2020 season. As a result we'll be able to do a multiple things as far as overall recruitment is concerned with Luciano's money.

"Trent brings plenty of experience to the Dragons' forward pack and is someone who is really passionate and can't wait to put the red V back on."

The Dragons are looking to bounce back in 2020 after finishing 15th in the table this year.

Meanwhile, the Rhinos wrote on Twitter: "A big thank you to @TrentMerrin for all his efforts in blue and amber, from everyone at the Rhinos we wish him and Jess all the very best for the future."

Leeds also confirmed the signing of Matt Prior from the Cronulla Sharks.

Josh Addo-Carr is committed to Melbourne Storm despite reports linking him with a return to Wests Tigers, insists CEO Dave Donaghy.

The Tigers were believed to have turned their attention to the Melbourne wing, who was said to be interested in moving back to Sydney for personal reasons, after pulling out of negotiations with Latrell Mitchell.

However, the NRL minor premiers have stated Addo-Carr will not be going anywhere ahead of the 2020 campaign.

"We don't respond a lot to external noise but given there is quite a bit of commentary at the moment I thought I'd clear that up," Donaghy told the Herald Sun.

"Where the talk is coming from I'm not sure, but I can say hand on heart Josh is committed to Storm as much as we're committed to Josh.

"I can understand and accept at different times two plus two can equal five as opposed to what it actually equals.

"I think it is all part of the theatre, the environment of the industry that we operate in and that's the reality.

"The facts of the matter are Josh's current contract status is he's signed until 2021 and he's reaffirmed his commitment to Storm.

"Not that we were seeking it, we knew that anyway, but he felt he wanted to reaffirm that."

The Storm also confirmed the departures of Brodie Croft and Curtis Scott on Friday.

Croft has joined Brisbane Broncos on a three-year deal, while Scott agreed a four-year contract with 2019 Grand Final runners-up Canberra Raiders.

Wests Tigers have withdrawn their offer for disgruntled Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell, the NRL side revealed on Thursday.

The Tigers were interested in luring Mitchell from NRL champions the Roosters, who pulled their contract offer for the centre earlier this month.

Mitchell – contracted to the Roosters for another season – has also been linked to Canterbury Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans.

But the 22-year-old Australia international will not be making the move to Wests Tigers as his future remains in limbo.

"We've withdrawn the offer," Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe told foxsports.com.au.

"It's an active market and we have a responsibility to our members, fans and the club.

"We're focused on securing talent but in relation to Latrell, we've moved on."

It comes as the Tigers reportedly set their sights on Melbourne Storm star Josh Addo-Carr.

A Grand Final winner with the Storm in 2017, New South Wales representative Addo-Carr is believed to be eyeing a return home.

The 24-year-old speedster moved to the Storm from the Tigers ahead of the 2017 season.

 

Shane Flanagan's return to the NRL will come as an assistant coach with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The former Cronulla Sharks premiership-winning coach, deregistered by the NRL late last year, has signed a one-year deal with the Dragons.

Flanagan was deregistered after it was found he was dealing with the Sharks while banned in 2014, suspended at the time following the club's supplements saga.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor was pleased to welcome Flanagan to the club.

"Shane will be a valuable asset to the Dragons' endeavours in 2020," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"His success has been proven time and time again over many years and we're glad to have him on board."

Flanagan can begin working with the Dragons, who finished 15th in 2019, in late December.

Brian McDermott has agreed a five-year contract extension with Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack.

The 49-year-old joined Toronto 12 months ago and guided them to promotion to the top tier as they won 28 of their 29 games.

McDermott has now signed fresh terms with Toronto, who will have dual-code star Sonny Bill Williams in their ranks for their maiden Super League campaign.

"The biggest attraction the club has to me is its unique status; it's the first transatlantic sports team and I think anyone would want to be involved in anything that's a first," said McDermott, who has previously guided Leeds Rhinos to four Super League titles.

"While five years is a long contract and a massive commitment, it makes sense as the club needs long-term coaching that will see systems and processes being put in place on an off the field in the pursuit of continued success."

Valentine Holmes said he has no regrets over his failed NFL dream after returning to the NRL via the North Queensland Cowboys.

Holmes moved to the Cowboys on a six-year deal following his release from the New York Jets' practice squad on Friday.

Like Jarryd Hayne before him, Holmes left rugby league to pursue a career in American football, but he failed to make the Jets' 53-man playing roster after joining the International Player Pathway Program.

Fronting the media on Monday, Holmes said: "It was a quite difficult decision [to leave the New York Jets]. I made big sacrifices on the decision going over.

"I don't have any regrets on the decision going over. I learned a lot as a person and as an athlete … I was more so just out there to explore things."

The 24-year-old added: "I feel a bit stronger, bit faster, bit better agility-wise but my stamina is something I will have to focus on and my ball skills. I haven't played footy in a while but I am sure I will get it back."

Holmes scored 22 tries in 26 games for Cronulla Sharks in 2018 before packing his bags and heading to USA.

"To show that faith in me is awesome and I will try to show it back when I play – I am here to win, that is what my mindset is going to be," Townsville-born Holmes said.

"It was a kind of an easy decision [signing with Cowboys]. I have family here, have friends here from school and I have always loved the Cowboys since I was growing up. It's good to be back home."

North Queensland Cowboys director of rugby Peter Parr believes the 2015 NRL champions have pulled off a major coup by signing Valentine Holmes on a six-year deal.

Former Cronulla Sharks star Holmes was released from the New York Jets' practice squad on Friday, seven months after arriving in the United States to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.

Holmes failed to make the Jets' 53-man playing roster after joining the International Player Pathway Program.

The Jets stated that the 24-year-old was eyeing a return to Australia and North Queensland on Sunday announced Townsville is his destination.

Parr expects Holmes, who played full-back for much of his time with the Sharks and scored 22 tries in 26 games in 2018, to carry on where he left on off in his rugby league career.

"This is a wonderful signing for our club," Cowboys director of football Parr said.

"It wasn't long ago that Valentine was one of the best players in the competition before his courageous decision to go to the NFL. His form in 2018 was as good as any player in the NRL, particularly in the second half of that season.

"He's a proven big-game player, he's won a Grand Final and he's played some terrific football for both Queensland and Australia.

"Valentine has been a top-class performer at wing and full-back and we've made no secret we had a desire to strengthen our outside back stocks.

"Val's record speaks for itself and we couldn't be more excited about securing him at the Cowboys for the next six seasons."

Holmes has scored 13 tries in 17 Tests for Australia.

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.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck became just the fifth New Zealander to win the prestigious men's Golden Boot award on Sunday.

Tuivasa-Sheck scooped the prize, which is awarded to the best international player of the year, ahead of Tonga prop Siosiua Taukeiaho and New Zealand team-mate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

The 26-year-old returned from a 12-month international absence to help his country defeat Tonga 34-14 in the Oceania Cup Test and also featured in a 2-0 series triumph over Great Britain.

He also ran 167 metres and set up his team's only try in the 26-4 defeat to Australia.

"Putting on the black and white jersey and representing my country is always a privilege and winning this Golden Boot award is a huge honour," said Tuivasa-Sheck.

"Thank you to the IRL, NZRL and, of course, my family, as without their love and support, none of this would be possible.

"This year's campaign has been one to remember, and although being away from my family was difficult, this makes it all worth it, this award is for them."

Australia star Jessica Sergis enhanced her standing as one of the best in the world by taking home the women's Golden Boot.

Great Britain Lions were unable to cap a dismal tour with a victory after Wayne Bennett's side slumped to a humbling 28-10 defeat to Papua New Guinea.

Three successive defeats heading into Saturday's contest had seen the pressure pile on coach Bennett, who took charge of England in 2016 and was overseeing a Lions tour for the first time.

Bennett's contract is now up and, though RFL boss Ralph Rimmer insisted there would be no "knee-jerk" decision on his future, the chances of the former Brisbane Broncos coach retaining his position appear slim after a second-half capitulation in Port Moresby.

Quickfire tries from Blake Austin and Josh Hodgson had seen Great Britain take an eight-point lead, with Gareth Widdop adding the extras for the second effort.

A head injury for James Graham left the Lions without their captain, however, and Papua New Guinea - ranked at 10th in the world - moved to within four points by half-time thanks to Edwin Ipape's superb 60-yard run.

Great Britain failed to stem the tide after the restart, with Watson Boas, Justin Olam and Alex Johnston all going over in the space of nine minutes to send a vociferous home crowd into raptures.

The tourists' dismal tour - a first outing for the Lions since 2007 - was rounded off in humiliating fashion with 13 minutes remaining, Nixon Putt capitalising on Jonny Lomax's error to mark a famous triumph for the Kumuls in style.

Captain Sean O'Loughlin has signed a new one-year contract with Wigan Warriors to end his career at the club.

The 36-year-old has played his entire 18-season career with the Warriors. He became skipper in 2006 and has led Wigan to four Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and the 2017 World Club Challenge crown.

O'Loughlin, who is seventh on Wigan's list of all-time appearance makers, told their official website: "I'm really pleased to have come to an agreement with the club for my final season.

"I've made no secret of my desire to finish my playing career as a one-club man and I'm looking forward to pulling on the cherry and white jersey once again this season.

"This won't be a year-long lap of honour for me, as there's an extremely strong and competitive Super League season on the horizon that we have to prepare for.

"My focus is solely on helping contribute to the team in 2020."

Wigan centre Oliver Gildart will miss the start of O'Loughlin's final season. Gildart is set for four to five months on the sidelines after having surgery on a dislocated shoulder suffered playing for Great Britain Lions.

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.

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