Super League clubs on red alert as NRL captain barred from training

Super League clubs will be on red alert after Canterbury Bulldogs controversially barred their captain from pre-season training.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Canterbury’s relationship with Raymond Faitala-Mariner is set to come to a disappointing end with the club captain “barred” from training and told to stay away when the club makes their return to pre-season.

On Friday, the first members of the Bulldogs squad are set to return to Belmore for pre-season training but Faitala-Mariner won’t be among them. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that this will culminate in “his imminent departure.”

They also claim that sources close to the Bulldogs have confirmed that Faitala-Mariner had been instructed to stay away following his falling out of favour earlier in the 2023 season. He has even been given permission to find another club.

With many NRL clubs having already concluded their business for the 2024 season with many now looking ahead to 2025 for signings due to the much earlier opening of November 1st, this leaves the door open for Super League clubs.

St Helens have considered bringing in a forward due to persistent injury problems in the pack over the last two seasons to the likes of Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi. They have a quota spot which initially looked set to be used on a centre until rumours began about a potential move for Warrington Wolves’ Toby King.

However, the more likely destination would be the Catalans Dragons as a replacement for Siosiua Taukeiaho who is ironically set to join Canterbury Bulldogs according to reports in Australia.

With Faitala-Mariner set to leave that is not the same for Kurtis Morrin. He has agreed a new two year deal with the club.

The Club’s 2021 Jersey Flegg Cup Player of the Year played 17 matches for NSW Cup in 2022 before earning his first taste of top grade. He was given the NRL call-up in Round 15 against the Wests Tigers, just six days on from the Bulldogs’ third win of the 2022 season over the Parramatta Eels and first under interim coach Mick Potter.

He went on to play 20 games that year for the eventual 2022 Grand Finalists; 11 from the interchange, seven at lock and two at prop. His debut call-up proved a memorable one, stepping onto the park at the 51-minute mark and a short time later scoring a try after Josh Addo-Carr scooped up a loose ball from a left-edge raid and skipped back infield before finding a charging Morrin to score.

He made two more first-grade appearances in 2022 (Rounds 16 and 18) before bringing that experience back to the NSW Cup team, who went on to win six from eight matches in a late-season charge to make the Grand Final against the Penrith Panthers.

Morrin was called on several times during the 2023 season by Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo. He quickly established himself at training as a promising young talent, credited for his effort and work ethic. At just 23 years of age and entering his second NRL pre-season training period, the dynamic forward has a big future ahead of him.

Head Coach, Cameron Ciraldo said Morrin was seeing the rewards for his efforts at training and leading the Pack from the front: “Kurt represents everything that we stand for at the Bulldogs. He works hard and is a great teammate.

“His never-say-die attitude means that he is someone the team can look to, to lead the way during tough moments in the game. He is the type of teammate that every player wants to play with and every coach wants to coach.”