Silly season begins as NRL player market finally cranks up

The NRL transfer market has finally started to heat up with Aaron Woods, Tyrone Peachey, Jamal Fogarty and Tom Starling among the players poised to secure their futures this week.

Woods is set to join St George Illawarra on a one-year deal after Cronulla opted not to extend his contract. The former NSW and Australia prop will join Moses Mbye, Jaydn Su’A, George Burgess and Francis Molo as recruits for the Red V next season.

The Dragons have lost a number of long-serving players including Corey Norman, Cameron McInnes and Matt Dufty, but one man who will be staying is Tariq Sims. There has been speculation over the future of the NSW back-rower after the Dragons told him he wouldn’t be re-signed beyond next year.

However, Sims will see out the final year of his deal before deciding his next move.

Canberra are closing in on the signature of Fogarty as a replacement for George Williams after the Gold Coast granted the half permission to explore his options. Fogarty still had two years to run on his Titans contract, but is poised to head to the nation’s capital.

Aaron Woods is one of several stars set to announce their future.Credit:Getty Images

One of the spine players he will be working with, Starling, is poised to extend his stay in Canberra on an upgraded deal. The hooker is set to sign on until the end of 2024 on a contract that also gives him a financial boost next year.

Starling, who is set to face court despite a number of police charges against him being dropped over a pub incident, is expected to again share hooking duties with Josh Hodgson next season.

The Wests Tigers have almost $1.5 million of salary cap money available and part of it is expected to go towards Peachey. The Titans opted not to renew his contract and the former Blues star is expected to fill a utility role at the joint-venture outfit. Former Bulldog Adam Elliott is also on the Tigers’ radar.

And the Bulldogs have made Braidon Burns the latest addition to a back line that includes fellow recruits Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Dufty and Brent Naden. The former Souths three-quarter has taken up a two-year deal with the blue-and-whites.

“There is a genuine feeling here at the Bulldogs that we are putting together a very exciting squad for next season and beyond,” Bulldogs chief executive Aaron Warburton said.

“Adding depth in all positions is something that we have worked hard to achieve, and to be able to sign someone of Braidon’s ability and strike power is a major boost for our back line.

“Braidon is a hard worker who wants the chance to succeed, and we are delighted that he has chosen to come to Belmore at a time when he is moving into the best stage of his career.”

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