Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o, Dolphins, Panthers, Wayne Bennett, Ivan Cleary, contracts, transfers


Phil Rothfield believes the lingering reports linking Panthers stars Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o to the Dolphins are down to a salary cap squeeze at reigning Premiers Penrith.

Crichton and To’o are close friends and are both out of contract in 2023, prompting reports they could head to the Dolphins on a 2024 package.

“There are rumors that Crichton and To’o could move to the Dolphins,” Braith Anasta said on NRL 360.

Stream every game from every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership season live and ad-free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try it free for 14 days now.

“I think it’s a realistic option because Penrith is in a position where he has a lot of money on his half-back (Nathan Cleary), a lot of money on his five-eighth (Jarome Luai), a lot of money on his striker (Isaah Yeo) and of course James Fisher-Harris in the front row,” Rothfield said on NRL 360.

“These boys, if they want to make money, they won’t get it at Penrith.

“They are young and the money at Redcliffe will be much better.”

Paul Kent has agreed that the Panthers are victims of their own success and while they have plenty of great young children, it’s inevitable that their premiership-winning stars will attract better offers elsewhere when their current contracts come to an end.

“Penrith is in this perfect moment where there are so many good kids coming in that it’s inevitable you’ll lose those players,” Kent said.


MAGIC ROUND GUIDE: Rugby league festival descends on Suncorp Stadium

TRANSFER CENTRE: The Bulldogs lock up a young star, the Dolphins poach the weapon of the Cowboys

‘A FEW STEPS AHEAD’: Brandy’s warning to Storm as rivals surround Munster

BLUES: Favorites to fill Latrell spot revealed as Turbo return eases pressure

Brian To’o and Stephen Crichton are close on and off the pitch.Source: Getty Images

“Once they come to the end of their contracts and they are the winners of the premiership, your value skyrockets.

“So they’re coming to the end of their contract and they’re going on the market and they’ve taken unders for the previous few seasons.

“But Penrith brought in these young kids, like Taylan May, so when people like To’o, who three years ago, nobody knew who he was. . . when it exits the contract, it exits the market and doubles and triples its value once it is in the market.

KFC Super Coach is back! You could win the Holy Grail of Fantasy Footy plus $50,000 cash. play now

Wayne Bennett has work to do to build a full roster and land marquee signings.Source: News Corp Australia

“But then Penrith brought in Taylan May, so Penrith did a great job.”

Rothfield also pointed out that Crichton is currently being paid as a center and winger and that the money on offer for the full-back position in the NRL eclipses those positions.

“With Crichton at Penrith, he’s on the centre/wing money,” Rothfield said.

“At Redcliffe he would be on full-back money, which goes up around 25 per cent and that’s what appeals to him.”

However, Brent Read thinks the Dolphins are tired of being tied down to every out-of-contract player.

Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Register now!!

‘It adds to the build-up’ – NRL 360 | 04:13

“They can’t sign everyone and they’re tied to everyone,” Read said.

“I think they had the courage to connect with everyone.”

But Paul Kent stressed the Dolphins can’t have it both ways and need to be tied down with as many players as possible to build a roster ahead of next season.

“They have to sign someone though,” Kent said.

“They can’t just focus on signing one player at a time. They should have a lot of balls in the air.

“They have six months to get to November to sign 30 players and they have announced 12 and not all of them are freshmen so they still have a lot of work to do. They have a lot of signatures to get.


Comments are closed.