UPDATED: Tinirau Arona has joined the Cronulla Sharks, leaving even more space under the salary cap for the Roosters to re-sign Luke O’Donnell and Anthony Minichiello.
Twitter rumour fiend Matthew Perry (@Chandler_BANG) first alerted 26 Rounds to the news, and it was confirmed by Arona’s Twitter account:
The back-rower spent the majority of last season captaining Newtown. He was named the Cook Islands’ player of the year at the RLIF awards in 2011 and all up played 36 games for the Roosters, the majority under Brian Smith from 2011-2012.
He played three games for the Roosters last year but fell out of favour once Dylan Napa and Isaac Liu made the leap, and was used primarily as a back-up to those back ups.
Neither the Sharks nor Roosters have announced the deal on their respective websites at time of writing.
Arona joins a glut of back-rowers at the Sharks — including Luke Lewis, Wade Graham and Paul Gallen (assuming he doesn’t play prop this year).
Meanwhile, Twitter prankster and sage of all things Newtown, Adam Hogan (@addzy18) alerted 26 Rounds to the whispers that Nafe Seluini was bound for Burleigh Bears to join former Jets teammate Henare Wells.
This has been since confirmed by Facebook reader Casey Esposito, who said an email from the Jets confirmed that the hooker had left the club to sign with the Bears. To wit, the email reads:
The Newtown RLFC also extends good wishes to former players Nafe Seluini and Henare Wells who have accepted offers with the Burleigh Bears RLFC in the Queensland Cup competition. They both made huge impacts at Henson Park and we wish them good luck for the future.
With Heath L’estrange recently signed the writing was on the wall for Seluini.
It’s a shame as the staff here at 26 Rounds always thought of Seluini as a good bench hooker who could change the pace of a game off the bench and provide a real spark with his running game for a decent NRL team.
But with Daniel Mortimer having wrapped up that back-up spot there was little to no chance of Seluini getting a run in firsts except around Origin time.