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NRL General Manager explains why $1 million deal for Super League forward fell through

Canterbury Bulldog’s General Manager Gus Gould has finally revealed what exactly has been happening with Catalans Dragons Siua Taukeiaho, the prop forward who has been at the heart of a transfer saga for months.

Taukeiaho only joined the Super League outfit for the start of the 2023 season but just months into the season had requested to leave his contract early.

The Tongan international was looking to make a return down under and to the NRL, something that Catalans wanted compensating for which led to suggestions of a big transfer fee.

In stepped Gus Gould and the Canterbury Bulldogs, the team being keen to solidify their pack for 2024 and beyond leading to them reportedly tabling an offer of $1,000,000 across two seasons, per the Daily Telegraph.

Despite such huge figures the saga rumbled on and Taukeiaho returned to fitness and to play games for Catalans, even featuring in the Grand Final loss against Wigan Warriors.

However it’s that game potentially that has caused Taukeiaho to not make the move to Canterbury in this off-season, with Gould now taking to Australian radio station SEN to explain the details of the deal.

Gould told SEN 1170 Afternoons: “He was a player that we were really keen to pursue, he had a year to go on his contract in Catalans and they were looking for some sort of replacement if he was to come back to the NRL.

“Any deal with us was subject to a medical, as they normally are, unfortunately late in the season… he played with an injury in the Grand Final which only made it worse by the time he got back here, he’s got a rather serious foot injury that requires surgery.”

After confirming that the failed medical Gould then also went on to suggest that Taukeiaho could miss plenty of the 2024 season too.

“He wouldn’t pass any medical to get an offer from us, I’d imagine he’ll go back to Catalans to complete his contract, certainly in the short term he’ll need surgery and he’s going to have quite a lengthy rehab with that.”

It’s a big blow for all parties involved, the player who wanted an NRL return, Canterbury who clearly wanted to strengthen their pack, and of course Catalans who will now have an injured player on their hands.

Gould continued to explain how his team’s recruitment was going highlighting a focus on the forwards, one of those departing forwards having been Luke Thompson who joined Wigan Warriors.

“We’ve probably got a little bit more than people see there, we’ve got a lot of young blokes that didn’t play a lot of footy, they’d be feeling better about it if they’d seen them play, we’re hoping they’ll get more time on the pitch next year.

“We’re certainly looking, we’ve got money available, and we can make a spot available.

“We realise that it is an issue for us and we’re working towards it, but I think we’re a little bit better place than the average people (thinks).”

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