Brad Walter of the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the Salford Reds are chasing New Zealand test stars Issac Luke, Ben Matulino and Simon Mannering.
The Salford Reds have been linked to a long list of players from both the NRL and Super League recently. Their new owner Marwan Koukash has made no secret of his desire to spend what ever it takes to make Salford a Super League powerhouse.
At this point Salford look like they will be linked to anyone and everyone. There is a huge difference between the players Super League clubs want, and the players Super League clubs will get.
Issac Luke is one of the best hookers in the game. He is playing in a fantastic South Sydney Rabbitohs side that is aiming for a Premiership in 2013. He went through a lot of issues just to register his contract with the NRL to play for the Rabbitohs not too long ago.
I can not see Issac Luke wanting to leave Souths after fighting so hard to stay with them. On top of that, if Luke was available, I think its fair to say that most clubs in the NRL would be willing to offer him far more than the Salford Reds could ever hope to under the Super League salary cap. He is a top of the line player that would be in huge demand.
When it comes to Ben Matulino and Simon Mannering, it is not so clear cut. The personnel moves the New Zealand Warriors have made in recent season make no sense what so ever. Basically, anything is possible when it comes to players the Warriors are looking to sign and let go.
I think Ben Matulino is one of the better front rowers in the game. If there was a chance he was available to move to another club, I would imagine that most NRL teams would once again be willing to make him an offer.
I would think that the Penrith Panthers would chase him pretty hard with former New Zealand Warriors coach Ivan Cleary having great success recruiting his former Warriors players to the foot of the mountains.
Simon Mannering is a handy player but I don’t rate him as highly as the other two. Mannering is a part of the furniture at Mount Smart Stadium and a club captain, but it wouldn’t shock me if the club was willing to let him go.
These three are without doubt the three best players linked to the Salford Reds. If the Reds could sign any one of these players they would be a great buy.
At this stage though, the list of players who haven’t been linked to Salford is smaller than the list of players that have been linked to them. I’d take all of these rumours with a pinch of salt.
Link: Salford Circle Kiwis