The August 1 deadline is looming. Here is who your club could sign on a mid-season deal

Maroons accuse Blues of grubby tactics | 01:51
Darcie McDonald and Tom Sargeant from Fox Sports

The August 1 deadline is not too far away and almost every NRL club has roster spots to fill.

Whether it be a Tevita Pangai Junior-style cameo, or a mid-season switch that comes with a long-term deal, the player market is set to get a whole lot busier over the next month.

There’s also players out in the wilderness that are looking for a new home like Matt Lodge and others that have fallen out of favour like Jake Turpin, Tyrone Peachey and Nathan Brown.

Foxsports.com.au has analysed each clubs’ roster and highlighted moves they could make prior to August 1.

Round 17
*Odds are current as of 4th July 2022, 1:53pm AEST
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*Odds are current as of 4th July 2022, 1:53pm AEST
VIEW ALL SCORES

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BRONCOS

Available roster spots: 2

What they need: A half/hooker and an outside back

Who they could target: Lachlan Lam or Tyrone Peachey and Adam Keighran

With Albert Kelly (foot) not expected to return until Round 21, Corey Paix (knee) aiming for a Round 19 return and Tyson Gamble (leg) sidelined indefinitely, another half that can cover hooker would be a handy addition for the Broncos.

18-year-old Ezra Mam has done a fine job filling in for Gamble, but coach Kevin Walters was forced to dip even deeper into his halves stocks to bring in train-and-trial player Tyrone Roberts when Adam Reynolds was ruled out of Round 15.

Jake Turpin filled in on the bench for Paix but the club has confirmed Turpin has asked for a release and is negotiating with rival clubs with the potential of an immediate move.

That leaves the Broncos’ hooking stocks alarmingly slim.

Tyrone Peachey has been granted permission to negotiate with rivals and although he hasn’t hit the mark at the Tigers, at the very least he’d offer the Broncos a lot of versatility.

Depending on whether Herbie Farnworth can get back before finals or not, another centre or utility back could be necessary too.

Brenko Lee has been filling in and Tesi Niu is due back in Round 17, which gives Walters more options, but they’re essentially down a starting player while Farnworth is on the sidelines.

Roosters centre Adam Keighran has seen limited NRL time this season and is stuck behind Joseph Manu, Billy Smith, Paul Momirovski and Kevin Naiqama. The Roosters are yet to re-sign the 25-year-old and the bonus is he can cover the halves too.

Alternatively, it would make a lot of sense to upgrade Te Maire Martin to the Top 30 for the rest of the season. The 26-year-old is a fullback in a side that’s just outside of the top four, yet is on just a $60,000 development deal.

RAIDERS

Available roster spots: 2

What they need: A hooker and a prop.

Who they could target: Mitch Rein and Matt Lodge

Zac Woolford has been a revelation since rejoining the club he played his under 20s footy with and should be rewarded with one of the free spots in the Top 30.

Beyond that, another hooker would provide the Raiders with a safety net for the back end of the season.

Ricky Stuart’s plan is to turn Tom Starling into an 80-minute hooker but for now he’s sharing the load with Woolford. Should one of them go down, Stuart would be scrambling to fill the hole in his one-two punch combination.

Matt Frawley played a few games at hooker this season and so did Adam Elliott but Frawley is a half and Elliott plays his best footy at lock.

What the club lost in Josh Hodgson when he suffered his season-ending injury is experience and that’s exactly what Mitch Rein has — 210 games of it. It would be hard to get the Eels to release him early, especially given he was recently re-signed, but if he went to Canberra he could end up straight in the starting side.

The Raiders were in the market for a prop not too long ago and went after off-contract Bulldogs Jack Hetherington for next season. They missed out on him, but with Matt Lodge without a club, there’s an opportunity for Stuart to bolster his pack before the business end of the season.

Former Warriors prop Matt Lodge is on the lookout for a new club. NRL ImagerySource: Supplied

BULLDOGS

Available roster spots: 1

What they need: A prop

Who they could target: Matt Lodge, Kurt De Luis or promote from within.

With Jack Hetherington (shoulder) and Billy Tsikrikas (knee) out for the rest of the season as well as Luke Thompson (concussion) sidelined indefinitely and Ava Seumanufagai not due back until Round 22, the Bulldogs desperately need a prop.

Just like the Raiders, Matt Lodge is the most obvious option. Beyond that, Manly’s Kurt De Luis has only gotten a handful of NRL appearances this season but is one of the most consistent performers in reserve grade. The 26-year-old, who is only on a train-and-trial contract with Manly, is a metre-eating prop who makes upwards of 30 tackles a game with rarely a miss.

De Luis is one of the most passionate players you’ll come across and will fight tooth and nail for his team — a trait that would fit in well with a club that’s rebuilding.

Depending how the next month plays out, the Dogs will likely miss out on playing finals so perhaps they should instead look to the future and reward a player already in the system.

SHARKS

Available roster spots: 2

What they need: Second-rowers

Who they could target: Chris Smith and Jackson Ford

Siosifa Talakai’s success in the centres has bolstered Cronulla’s outside back stocks, but has taken away from their depth in the second row. Teig Wilton is coming along nicely, Briton Nikora is in form and Wade Graham is back on the field but coach Craig Fitzgibbon could do with some more options.

Penrith’s Chris Smith has only been able to crack the NRL side twice this season, while Jackson Ford has had similar luck at the Dragons. Both have over 30 games worth of experience and both are yet to be re-signed beyond this season, which could suggest they aren’t sitting too high on their current clubs’ priority lists.

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TITANS

Available roster spots: 3

What they need: A half, a utility, a hooker and a prop

Who they could target: Jake Turpin, Lachlan Lam and Matt Lodge

Erin Clark hasn’t been as convincing as Titans bosses would have liked in the No.9 after being handed the reigns to start the season.

Tanah Boyd is sitting in the wings, but Gold Coast powerbrokers could be looking for a permanent replacement.

Jake Turpin could be the man to spark change in the Titans squad for the back-end of 2022, already having one foot out the door at the Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Titans have struggled to lock down a halves partnership and Lachlan Lam could be a good option, giving him long-term first team football.

Lam has been plying his trade in reserve grade with the North Sydney Bears, but has proven his ability in first grade in the past.

The 24-year-old can run the ball and also has a strong kicking game to pair young gun Toby Sexton.

The Titans are desperate for some go-forward with skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui currently shouldering much of the burden.

To kickstart the back end of the 2022 season, Lodge could be an injection of power and size in the middle of the park.

The Warriors prop would also likely be willing to sign a deal for the remainder of 2022 should the Gold Coast side be able to afford his nominal salary.

SEA EAGLES

Available roster spots: 2

What they need: A hooker and a fullback

Who they could target: Ben Marschke or Jake Turpin and Lachlan Miller

With Karl Lawton out for the season, hooker Lachlan Croker has no back-up. Given it’s such a key position, it would be a huge gamble for Manly coach Des Hasler to see out the rest of the season without another genuine No.9 on the books.

James Segeyaro is on a train-and-trial with the club and is an option or it could be worth looking at Ben Marschke. The 25-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at the Roosters with Trent Robinson opting to play Drew Hutchison — a half — at hooker while Sam Verrills was injured, while he’d be next in line at the Sea Eagles. He’s also only on a development deal and is coming off contract.

There’s also Jake Turpin who although still at the Broncos, has been given the green light for an immediate release if he can find a club.

Reuben Garrick is doing a cracking job at fullback but after Tom Trbojevic was ruled out for the season, that’s a position that is in need of some help. Tolu Koula and Morgan Harper can both play fullback but a specialist that can slot straight in could be the better option.

We saw how dangerous former rugby sevens player Locky Miller was in his NRL debut with the Sharks and he’d provide genuine depth for Manly — or perhaps even claim the No.1 jersey to allow Garrick to move back to the wing. Miller can also play in the halves and at a pinch at hooker.

Jake Turpin is on the lookout for a new NRL club after being granted permission to seek a new deal. Picture: Liam KidstonSource: News Corp Australia

STORM

Available roster spots: 0

What they need: An outside back

Who they could target: Matt Ikuvalu

With Xavier Coates (ankle) and Reimis Smith (pectoral) sidelined until Round 22 and George Jennings out for the season, the Storm need help in the outside backs. The big issue is though that they don’t have the space on the roster.

If the club can clear up a spot they’ll likely hit the market for a versatile back. Someone that could be open to a move is Sharks back Matt Ikuvalu. The 28-year-old made the move to the Shire this year from the Roosters but has only featured in two NRL games this season.

The Storm have filled gaps with rookie Grant Anderson but what Ikuvalu brings is 40 games worth of experience — he can also play both on the wing or in the centres.

KNIGHTS

Available roster spots: 1

What they need: A playmaker, a hooker and a centre

Who they could target: Lachlan Lam, Jake Turpin, Lachlan Miller, Adam Keighran

The Knights halves have struggled in 2022.

Anthony Milford’s inclusion has been a positive one thus far, but his halves partner is far from secure with Adam O’Brien currently shifting between Jake Clifford and Adam Clune.

Roosters playmaker Lachlan Lam could be a solid option for the Knights to become a regular first grade half, currently stuck behind Walker, Keary and Hutchison at the Roosters.

Lam was strong in 2021 but has since played reserve grade.

Meanwhile, Jake Turpin could be ready for an early switch to the Hunter, providing competition to Chris Randall in the dummy-half spot.

Adam Keighran could be an option for the outside backs, currently leading NSW Cup’s points tally.

Keighran can also play in the halves and is off-contract at the end of 2022, with an option in the Roosters favour for 2023.

Lachlan Miller is another potential option, currently plying his trade for Newtown Jets.

Miller impressed on debut for the Sharks and can play in the halves or at fullback.

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COWBOYS

Available roster spots: 2*

What they need: A prop

Who they could target: Matt Lodge or Franklin Pele

As it stands, the Cowboys have two free spots on their roster, however once they confirm Luciano Leilua’s signature that will drop to one.

With Reuben Cotter looking at three to five weeks on the sideline with a hamstring injury it would be wise to bring in another forward. Even when Cotter returns the Cowboys are still a little slim at prop for a side that will genuinely push for the premiership.

Matt Lodge is an option or if they want raw power and intimidation, Sharks prop Franklin Pele has been stuck in reserve grade this season. The 21-year-old only has one NRL game under his belt but has a lot of potential. He’s coming off contract and could form a part of the Cowboys long term.

EELS

Available roster spots: 1

What they need: A lock

Who they could target: J’maine Hopgood

They’ve already signed him for 2023 and 2024 but with Ray Stone out for the season and Nathan Brown falling down the pecking order, the Eels should make a serious play to get Hopgood to the club immediately.

Hopgood has only played one NRL game for the Panthers this season and while he may not crack the Eels’ 17 right away, the sooner the club can get him into their system the better.

Lachlan Lam has been plying his trade in the NSW Cup and could be an option for a number of NRL clubs. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

PANTHERS

Available roster spots: 1

What they need: A bench backrower

Who they could target: Luke Garner

It is hard to target any weaknesses in the Panthers squad as it stands.

Ivan Cleary also has a number of guns ready to go in reserve grade and on the bench such as Chris Smith and Matt Eisenhuth.

But, the Panthers could look to secure Luke Garner early after signing the Tigers gun on a two-year deal.

Last season, Tevita Pangai Junior made a mid-season switch prior to joining the Bulldogs and Garner could do the same if the Tigers continue to clear their squad out for a rebuild.

RABBITOHS

Available roster spots: 2

What do they need: A centre and a winger

Who could they target: Brenko Lee and Robert Jennings

The Rabbitohs outside backs started off slow in 2022.

Jaxson Paulo, Josh Mansour and Taane Milne have failed to fire and Jason Demetriou may look to add some size out wide.

Brenko Lee has been released from his Broncos contract for the 2023 season and could look elsewhere for regular first team football if available this year.

Meanwhile, Robert Jennings has been playing in reserve grade and is also sitting behind a stacked Panthers backline.

Jennings contract ends in 2022 and the Panthers would likely let him go early to join another club before linking up with Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins in 2023.

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DRAGONS

Available roster spots: 2

What they need: A utility and a lock

Who they could target: Tyrone Peachey and Luke Thompson

The Dragons could benefit from a bench utility that can be played outside of playmaking roles.

Tyrone Peachey could be just that man.

Moses Mbye currently occupies the No.14 jersey, but is generally played in the halves or at fullback so Peachey could provide an option in the centres, backrow or at lock and sit alongside him on the bench.

The Tigers gun is seeking an immediate release and the Red V could be a genuine option.

The Dragons also could be looking at strengthening their middle forwards, following Paul Vaughan and Daniel Alvaro’s departure.

Luke Thompson could be on the way out of the Bulldogs due to salary cap constraints and could be a perfect replacement for Tariq Sims who departs for the Storm at the season’s end.

ROOSTERS

Available roster spots: 3

What they need: A middle forward and outside back

Who they could target: Brandon Smith and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

Joseph Suaalii’s development in 2022 has been immense.

The young gun is strong in defence and proving a threat in attack, so much so that there are calls for him to make a permanent switch to the centres.

As it stands, the Roosters aren’t desperate for reinforcements immediately, and the obvious move would be to make a play for Brandon Smith’s early Storm exit.

But with salary cap issues hanging over the Roosters, no late signings this season seem plausible.

If Suaalii does make the switch to the centres, a wing spot becomes available for next season.

Looking forward, Paul Momirovksi has fallen down the pecking order, while Billy Smith is the likely replacement.

If Roosters powerbrokers begin looking elsewhere for a cut-price gun to take up the widest position, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow could be an option.

The club were already linked to Maroons flyer Selwyn Cobbo and the Cowboys speedster could be a cheaper option.

Scott Drinkwater has emerged as Payten’s first choice fullback and the speedster has found himself shifted back to an edge.

Tabuai-Fidow is off contract and can negotiate with rival clubs from November 1.

Tyrone Peachey is reportedly seeking a Tigers exit and could be looking for a new club. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

WARRIORS

Available roster spots: 1

What they need: A prop

Who they could target: Emre Guler

The Warriors let go one of the best props in the competition in Matt Lodge and are now desperate for some go-forward in the middle.

Ben Murdoch-Masila also suffered a brutal elbow injury to further add to their woes.

Raiders prop Emre Guler, who played 19 games last year, could be the man to make a mid-season switch.

Ricky Stuart has only picked the 24-year-old twice in 2022 and Guler has been languishing in reserve grade for most of the year.

With age on his side and a hulking frame, the 47-gamer could be a solid pick-up for Stacey Jones’ side if he seeks an early release, currently contracted until the end of 2023.

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TIGERS

Available roster spots: 3

What they need: A lock, hooker, prop and centre

Who they could target: Matt Lodge, Luke Thompson, Jesse Arthars, Jake Turpin

The Tigers have struggled again so far in 2022 and are in desperate need of rejuvenation.

The merger club are also one of the few teams said to have cap space remaining and should be looking at making a play for Matt Lodge to provide much-needed go-forward in the middle.

Lodge would likely be open to a deal for the remainder of the season before he finalises his future, with the Tigers reportedly could afford his $20,000-per-game nominal salary cap value.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are desperate for a short-term hooking option and could look to the Broncos stocks.

Jake Turpin is free to negotiate with rival clubs and has shown he can be a good option.

The lock position is another the Concord club desperately need improvement in and Luke Thompson could be their man, moving Joe Ofahengaue back to prop.

Facing a salary cap squeeze, Thompson was the man said to be making way for a number of new arrivals in Belmore and he could be a great pick-up.

The Tigers have also suffered in 2022 due to a number of injuries in the outside backs.

One talented young gun who could be seeking a move is Jesse Arthars.

The 23-year-old is currently contracted at the Broncos and was loaned to the Warriors for the 2022 season.

He has been one of the Warriors best but has suffered a number of injuries.

Arthars sits behind the long-term centre pairing of Herbie Farnworth and Kotoni Staggs and may be seeking a permanent move soon.

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