NRL News: Arthur frustrated by Lomax to Eels deal delay, Dragons eye off Turuva but winger wants to stay ‘home’


Eels coach Brad Arthur would love to have Zac Lomax boosting his outside backs but the Dragons are playing hardball with their disgruntled star.

St George Illawarra coach Shane Flanagan said on Triple M on Sunday that he wouldn’t be surprised if Lomax again asked for a release from the final two years of his contract this week.

The Eels have expressed interest in Lomax’s services and have the salary cap room to take him on straight away but the Dragons want a player in return.

They would love to get their hands on rookie centre Blaize Talagi but the Eels will not part ways with the young prospect who scored a try on debut last week and will play five-eighth on Monday against the Wests Tigers.

Arthur said on Sunday that the club had tried to go through the proper channels to snare Lomax but had run into a dead end.

“The club went through the front door, we had conversations with the Dragons and it’s at a standstill,” he said on Sunday.

Dragons keen to snare Sunia

Off-contract flyer Sunia Turuva admits it would be incredibly hard to leave Penrith, saying his priority is to stay with the three-time premiers as talks begin with rivals.

Turuva is one of nine Panthers who will be off contract at the end of this year, as the club continue their never-ending battle with retaining talent under the salary cap.

In the past fortnight, Penrith have re-signed centres Taylan May and Izack Tago on bigger-money deals, leaving Turuva in a precarious position.

A report this week claimed Turuva’s management were hopeful of earning far more than the $350,000 offered by Penrith to keep the 2023 Dally M rookie of the year.

St George Illawarra have entered the race for Turuva’s signature as they will have plenty of money to spare even if they retain Zac Lomax beyond this season which is looking very unlikely.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Panthers have long taken a position of being a club that will not budge on offers, given the delicate position of their cap and the upgrades required each year.

The exits of Apisai Koroisau, Stephen Crichton and Viliame Kikau, and the impending departure of Jarome Luai are testament to that approach.

But fresh off scoring a hat-trick in Thursday night’s 22-16 win over the Sydney Roosters, Turuva said it had dawned on him he did not want to leave the club.

“Straight after the game, that hit me,” Turuva said. 

“I want to be part of this team. It’s a special group we’ve got here. No matter who steps into the jersey. 

“I just want to be part of this club.

“I’ve left it to my manager and Penrith to organise all that stuff. But I’ve said it before – Penrith’s home. This is where I want to be.”

Turuva has made no secret of wanting to help buy his father a house with his next deal, after the family’s long-time home burned down in 2020. 

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But the Fiji international also remains grateful for the way the Panthers have treated him.

The sudden death of the player’s mother in September 2021 was another huge blow, with Penrith dedicating wins to the family during that year’s premiership run.

“That’s exactly why I re-signed back in 2022,” Turuva said. 

“They were there with me through all the tough times. 

“I don’t forget that stuff. I don’t take that stuff for granted.”

A fullback through the junior grades until just before his NRL debut, Turuva could potentially net more money from rivals as a No.1.

But the 21-year-old said he was happy to wait on the wing at Penrith.

“When you got people like (Dylan Edwards at fullback), and Daine Laurie behind him, as well as guys in NSW Cup – they are just killing it,” Turuva said.

“I’ll stay on the wing as long as I have to, I’m loving it.”

with AAP

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