Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The New Zealand Warriors may be on the verge of signing front-rower and 200-game veteran Steve Price.
Warriors general manager Spiro Tsiros is in Australia and is believed to be trying to entice Price to sign on the dotted line.
The Warriors have been engineering the transfer after chief executive Mick Watson found that Price has an option in his contract which allows him to leave the Bulldogs.
It is understood Price has agreed terms with the Warriors and is expected to sign a contract worth more than $350,000 a year for two years.
Price has played all of his ten years of first grade football at the Bulldogs but it is understood the club could be stretched to match any offer the Warriors might put forward.
While the Bulldogs have confirmed Price is considering a massive offer, the club says it is hopeful of retaining the Australian and Queensland representative for three more years.
Price, 30, is the form prop of this season and would undoubtedly be one of the Warriors' best buys.
He brings a bankable 145 metres average ground-gain every game and in excess of 20 tackles, well-timed off-loading skills and superb leadership.
The Bulldogs captain has reportedly agreed to play under Warriors skipper Monty Betham but his leadership skills, after 208 premiership games, 15 Origins and three tests, will be a major boost to the struggling club who lie last in the NRL.
Watson said yesterday that he could not confirm or deny anything, but did acknowledge that Tsiros was in the Origin camp "waiting for a deal to be done".
Whether or not that came off, it had nothing to do with Wiki and they were still eagerly chasing the Canberra hardman, Watson said.
Wiki's agent, Jim Banaghan, flew to Canberra today to try to arrange a three-year deal.
"He's in hot demand. The offers coming across my desk remind me of the halcyon days of Super League," he said, indicating Wiki would take another two weeks to decide and sign.
Senior Warriors players have been told Price is expected at the club in 2005 and Watson was reported as saying "if we get Wiki too, we're there".
The potential signings have apparently increased Logan Swann's keenness on returning to Auckland.
Watson did confirm interest in Sharks prop Chris Beattie, 28, who has played 84 games for the Sharks and three Origins for Queensland, and the Roosters' Chad Robinson, 23, who has played 62 games.
Money will be one of the draws for Price. During the salary cap scandal of 2002 it was revealed that he was on a far lower wage, at around $A160,000, ($NZ177,900) than most in rugby league believed. The Warriors' two-year deal could be worth around twice that.