NRL transfer news 2023: Martin Taupau gets Brisbane extension, Six clubs enter race for Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

Brisbane Broncos forward Martin Taupau has landed himself a new deal with the Brisbane Broncos, as six rival clubs circle around Titans skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.

Broncos veteran Marty Taupau has extended his NRL career after clinching a one-year contract extension with Brisbane.

Taupau will remain at Red Hill until at least the end of the 2024 season following a strong start to his stint with the Broncos.

A 239-game NRL statesman, Taupau joined the Broncos from Manly this year to add some experience to Brisbane’s young engine room.

He has played in all 17 games for the Broncos, convincing coach Kevin Walters he was worthy of a contract extension at age 33.

“Marty is playing an important role for us and it is terrific news that he has re-signed for another year here at the Broncos,” Walters said.

“He has a lot of experience and is a great team man who is helping to bring through the next generation of forwards as well as playing some really good footy himself.”

Taupau has played a crucial role off the bench in every game for the Broncos this season, helping Brisbane to a top four spot going into this weekend’s bye.

Having played for the Bulldogs, Tigers and Sea Eagles before joining the Broncos, Taupau said he was loving his time in Brisbane.

“The culture here is just phenomenal, and I felt like the minute I walked through the doors, I felt, this is my family, and this is my home,” he said.

“For me, every single week I have to repay that by training really hard and performing every week.”

Six clubs circle Tino Fa’asuamaleau

Titans skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will test his value on the open market as six NRL rivals launch poaching raids on the Queensland Origin star.

Fa’asuamaleaui’s manager has confirmed the Titans star has a clause in his contract that made the Maroons prop a free agent if Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook was no longer with the club.

Big Tino’s Origin and clubmate David Fifita also has the same get-out clause and the shock sacking of Holbrook a fortnight ago has created a massive contractual headache for the Titans.

Gold Coast is now at risk of losing their two best players and incoming coach Des Hasler faces urgent talks to convince Fa’asuamaleaui and Fifita not to walk out on the Titans.

Fa’asuamaleaui’s agent Simon Mammino said the Maroons enforcer’s preference is to stay at the Titans, but revealed he will explore all options once the forward completes his Queensland duties after Origin III on Wednesday week.

“It’s correct that Tino has a clause in his contract relating to Justin. He is a free agent,” Mammino said.

“At this stage, we’re not rushing, Tino wants to focus on playing Origin for Queensland and win 3-0 and next week we will sit down and start weighing up our options and see what happens moving forwards with the Titans. That’s the truth.

“Ideally, Tino doesn’t want to leave. He really likes the Titans and he is a loyal kid, but he will make the best decision for his future now that Justin is not there.

“This (Holbrook’s sacking) is left field, but we don’t want emotion to make decisions. We will sit down in a few weeks and see where it leads us.

“Tino’s intentions are probably to stay, but he won’t be short of offers and choice of coaches and we will explore that.”

The prospect of Fa’asuamaleaui quitting the Titans would be a devastating blow for the club.

In November 2021, the premiership-winning former Storm rookie knocked back a big offer from new franchise the Dolphins to ink a five-year upgrade with the Titans until the end of 2026.

At that point, Fa’asuamaleaui was so content with the direction of the Titans under Holbrook he had a clause inserted into his new deal that made him a free agent if the coach was no longer there.

Fa’asuamaleaui is also a huge supporter of Titans senior consultant Mal Meninga, the NRL Immortal who helped lure him from Melbourne, and recruitment chief Ezra Howe.

The 23-year-old played a key role in luring Fifita to the Titans from the Broncos two years ago and Mammino said Fa’asuamaleaui has been shocked by the ruthless nature of Holbrook’s termination.

“Tino was very fond of Justin, that’s why we had the clause put into the contract,” Mammino said.

“He believed in him and backed him. We put that clause in when Tino signed his most recent contract and the reason he knocked back the Dolphins was because of Justin, Mal and Ezra.

“He obviously loves his teammates but those three guys were big factors. It came as a surprise to Tino that Mal wasn’t consulted about Justin’s sacking.

“He has got no shortage of interest. I’ve had calls already and he could pick up the phone to just about every club and they would entertain a conversation.

“Tino has to meet Des Hasler, so we will see where it leads to in time.

“We need to take the emotion out of what’s happened to Justin, so we’ll take a deep breath and let Tino get through the Origin series.”

The loss of either Fa’asuamaleaui or Fifita, or both, would be a devastating blow in Gold Coast’s pursuit of two NRL premierships by 2030.

Titans five-eighth Kieran Foran said Fa’asuamaleaui and Fifita were a huge part of the club and he hoped they weren’t lost on the back of Holbrook’s axing.

“We don’t chat about players’ contracts and things like that, that’s all confidential and up to the club to deal with that stuff,” he said.

“They’re both brilliant players. Everyone knows what outstanding footballers they are and individuals. They’re a massive part of this club.

“We’re not in a position to discuss those sorts of things. That’s for the club to deal with, and those boys. We back them and support them.”


Phil Rothfield

The Canberra Raiders have made a stunning $4 million play for barnstorming Gold Coast Titans forward David Fifita less than 24 hours following revelations both he and team mate Tino Fa’asuamaleaui have become free agents.

This masthead revealed on Sunday the Queensland Maroons State of Origin forwards had clauses in their Titans contracts that they could leave if coach Justin Holbrook was removed from the head coaching position.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has confirmed his interest in luring the game’s most explosive forward to the national capital, having narrowly missed out earlier this year when Fifita was last off contract.

In January Stuart met Fifita on the Gold Coast with a $2.7 million offer over three years.

This masthead understands the Raiders have increased the offer to $4 million over four years.

“I have spoken to David’s manager this morning to put forward our offer,” Stuart said.

“I was informed he is now a free agent and we’re obviously very keen, just like last time.

“He is a tremendous player who would be a perfect fit at this club.”

The Raiders have space in the salary cap to make a more competitive offer than most of their rivals.

They are saving $1 million in next year’s salary cap following Jack Wighton’s decision to join the Rabbitohs.

The departure of Fifita and/or Fa’asuamaleaui would be a massive setback for incoming coach Des Hasler and the Titans’ hopes of becoming serious premiership contenders.

Before Holbrook’s dismissal, Fa’asuamaleaui was locked in on a contract until the end of next season with an option for the following two years while Fifita recently extended until the end of 2026.

Fa’asuamaleaui has a contract until the end of next season with an option for the following two years while Fifita recently extended until the end of 2026.

Their managers are in no hurry to make a decision on their futures.

They want to avoid a Ben Hunt type media circus and wait until after Origin III before considering the approach from the Raiders and other clubs.

The problem for the Titans is that a number of their best players, not just Fa’asuamaleaui and Fifita, are disappointed about the manner in which Holbrook was sacked.

That they were just one win outside the top eight. That they were slowly but steadily building towards the finals when the axe fell with no consultation with the leadership group.

Originally published as NRL transfer news 2023: Marty Taupau lands contract extension, six clubs enter race for Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

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