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Cameron Ciraldo, Canterbury Bulldogs, next coach, 2023, Phil Gould, Penrith Panthers, James Hooper, Jimmy Brings

The drums are beating loudly that the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are far from signing the game’s most sought-after assistant coach in Cameron Ciraldo.

If you’ve been charting the market, Ciraldo’s recent signing with the Belmore club is now up to $1.10 to help the Bulldogs make a resurgence up the NRL ladder next season.

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Bulldogs boss Phil Gould has been holding his cards tight but the view around rugby league at the moment is that Gus has done it all and that will happen.

Yes, Ciraldo has signed a one-year extension with the Panthers until 2023 to keep him in his assistant coaching role with the premiership team, but the catch is that there is an opt-out clause that allows him to take on the head coaching role as long as he notifies Penrith before November 1.

Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo. Image: NRL PhotosSource: Submitted

PAPS irreplaceable certification

Melbourne Storm superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuizen is hard at work on the phones, exploring all options in terms of trying to replace him.

The Hurricanes are as creative as checking whether New Zealand Warriors fullback Reece Walsh or West Tigers five-eighth Adam Doehy are interested in a late-season cameo in the Purple Territory.

There’s no way either the Warriors or Wests Tigers would be willing to let go of those star players, but you have to credit Melbourne for the club’s lateral thinking, given where they’ve found themselves.

The Hurricanes were the club’s top right-back last month, with Marion Seve and Dean Jeremiah having all kinds of problems.

Melbourne have conceded a total of 18 tries down that right wing corridor, with Seve having 10 try factors and Jeremiah nine.

Walsh drops to bench for Raiders clash | 01:01

Tempers flare

A tussle between South Sydney player Cody Walker and Bulldogs half Kyle Flanagan could backfire when Canterbury-Bankstown No.7 Jay Arrow collects a high kick midway through the opening half.

Arrows were forced into a HI review as Walker and Flanagan began to tangle as the Bulldogs gave the Browns an almighty scare.

Bulldogs prop Paul Vaughan scored a long-range try to send Canterbury into a 28-22 lead and Flanagan couldn’t resist saying something to Walker as he raced through the goal.

The Bunnies’ No.6 was crouched on his hands at the time but his eyes immediately rolled and he threatened to touch the red line from the edge.

This is where Walker – the superstar of the code – steps in.

Opponents deliberately bait Walker to elicit a response.

This – and no other reason – we pointed out earlier in the week how Walker needs to find the right balance in terms of anger.

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Hunting for a new deal

With all the buzz from the Dragons dressing room surrounding coach Anthony Griffin at the moment, it’s surprising that the club have made an attempt to sign Red V captain Ben Hunt.

Hunt, 32, is in match-best form on the back of a man-of-the-match performance in Birthplace III and, like many champion playmakers, has only gotten better with age over the years.

Although Hunt has established himself as one of the NRL’s form players, the Dragons are yet to move into gear in terms of signing him to a new contract.

Hunt is currently signed until the end of 2023, and in fairness to Griffin, perhaps his biggest success as manager at the Dragons so far has been ushering in the Red V’s half-back revival.

Elsewhere it’s a grand final seven rounds for St George Illawarra, as the buzz around whether Griffin will survive beyond this season begins.

Cowboys assistant coach Dean Young has an exit clause in the final year of his three-year contract with North Queensland, meaning the Dragons can let him fly if they choose to bring one of the club’s favorite kids home.

Nothing will happen in the short term, but if results continue to fall off the cliff like the Dragons did against the Hen, St George Illawarra will have some big decisions to make.

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There have been a few false starts and all sorts of conspiracy theories as banned players’ agents Isaac Moses and Gavin Orr make their rounds to the answer.

The suspended couple appeared before the Agent Accreditation Program Board a few weeks ago to have the judge presiding over the case down as a close contact with Covid.

Again on Tuesday of this week the two are set to face the music as they go to try and get the matter adjourned again with the approval of an official NRL agent.

Earlier this year he told us it would happen and we stand to see the pair officially re-enter the NRL as accredited agents.

As most clubs know, Moses – who is one of the best NRL players in the game – is still going about business as usual as he is unable to deal directly with NRL clubs, which is a balancing act.

That was left to his cousin Stephen Moses – brother of Parramatta half-back Mitchell Moses – to score and cross the T’s on playing contracts with NRL clubs.

Moses and Orr submitted their applications early and went through the orientation and testing process.

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