Pritchard, Folau speculation off mark

Everyone wants him: Israel Folau is not on his way to the Bulldogs and will stay with the Waratahs. Photo: Dallas KilponenReports of Frank Pritchard’s exit to Salford and sightings of Israel Folau in the company of outgoing Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg at Origin III sparked speculation the Bulldogs may be close to signing the Wallabies star. However, Sin Bin has confirmed Pritchard is not going anywhere next season and Folau is set to stay at the Waratahs. Despite re-signing with Canterbury in May, Pritchard has been linked with Salford after the English Super League club’s ambitious owner Marwan Koukash revealed this week he had made an offer for the New Zealand forward. ”We have made an offer to Pritchard and are waiting to hear back from him,” Koukash told the Manchester Evening News. ”We feel he would be a tremendous signing. We are looking to bring in two quality second-row forwards to bolster our squad.” Former Penrith forward Tony Puletua, who now plays for St Helens and is good mates with Pritchard, is understood to be the other second-row target. Salford have also been linked with Newcastle’s Neville Costigan. But Pritchard’s agent Jason Arraj has ruled out any chance of him moving to Super League, saying: ”There is no chance in hell. Salford expressed an interest, as any club would, and we told them he had signed with Canterbury.” As for Folau, he is an ambassador of ANZ Stadium and spent Wednesday night in a corporate suite with Greenberg, St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust, other club officials and Manchester United players before joining the celebrations in the Queensland dressing room. Sin Bin understands he is odds-on to stay in rugby union.Benji in Salford’s sights

Having missed out on Pritchard, Salford officials are set to turn their attention to Benji Marshall in the hope he may consider a stint in the Super League after requesting a release from Wests Tigers. Marshall said he wanted to test himself in rugby, but Salford are understood to be planning an approach anyway. As revealed in Sin Bin last month, Salford officials recently contacted fellow Kiwi stars Issac Luke, Ben Matulino and Simon Mannering about a move to Salford. They will understandably want to check Marshall’s interest.Interest in Storm star

Marshall is not the only New Zealand playmaker being targeted by rugby, with Melbourne’s Matt McGahan also in the sights of the Blues and Chiefs franchises. McGahan, the son of former Kiwis and Roosters captain Hugh McGahan, is a former Junior All Blacks halfback in his third season at the Storm. He is still eligible for the under 20s but will play this weekend for the NSW Cup feeder team Melbourne share with Cronulla.All eyes on Origin

Origin III was officially the most watched match in rugby league history, with Channel Nine’s national audience of 4.232 million surpassing the 4.102 million who tuned into the 2005 NRL grand final. A significant reason for the success was the audience in Melbourne, where the decider smashed the previous Origin record set in game one and won the ratings on Wednesday night with 464,000 viewers, giving Channel Nine a 28 per cent share. In Sydney, an average of 1.165 million viewers watched the Maroons win 12-10, while in Brisbane the game drew an average audience of 865,000. The ratings and a record crowd of 83,813 at ANZ Stadium for the decider ensured this year’s series was the most watched on television, with a cumulative total audience of 11.966 million viewers, and live, with 215,883 fans attending the three games.Here’s to you, Robinson

Trent Robinson is impressing people in his first season as an NRL coach – and not just because of the way the Sydney Roosters are playing. Sin Bin has received a copy of a letter sent to NRL chief executive Dave Smith praising Robinson for his efforts assisting Kingsgrove juniors by attending a fund-raising dinner after the Roosters played St George Illawarra on July 6. ”After completing his duties with his players, club and the media, Trent departed WIN Jubilee Oval and drove straight to Kingsgrove RSL to attend our function,” Kingsgrove juniors chief operating officer Sam Ayache wrote. ”Not only did Mr Robinson attend the event at no cost, he was one of the last to depart the function which concluded at about 11.15pm and he purchased an auction item. His effort was outstanding and he is a great role model for the game of rugby league.” Cronulla chief executive Steve Noyce and Roosters boss Brian Canavan also attended.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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