Afamasaga tipped for Wests release

LAST year’s Newcastle Rugby League grand final hero Jack Afamasaga is expected to part ways with Western Suburbs on Tuesday.

Afamasaga will meet with the Rosellas committee today after requesting a release so he is free accept a mining job in Mudgee.

The Newcastle Herald understands Wests will agree to release the former Parramatta, Manly, Melbourne and Cronulla prop from his contract.

Last off-season the 28-year-old was at the centre of a contractual wrangle after he signed with Central Newcastle before requesting a transfer to Wests.

After a slow start to his Newcastle league career, Afamasaga began to display the bullocking carries that were a trademark of his 36-game NRL career during the semi-finals.

In the Rosellas’ 16-14 victory over Cessnock in the grand final, Afamasaga earned the JJ ‘‘Mo’’ Wilson Medal for the man of the match. The Rosellas have also lost fullback Nathan Ross to Kurri Kurri.

Ross played at Lakes United last season and signed with Wests for this campaign, pending an unsuccessful bid to secure a NSW Cup contract with the Knights during the off-season.

However, after being cut from the Knights, Ross chose to link with the Bulldogs. 

Ross joins ex-English Super League halfback or five-eighth Ben Jeffries as Kurri’s big off-season signing.

‘‘It gives us a top half [in Jeffries], hooker and fullback, where hopefully Nathan will play, and we’ll have [captain-coach] George [Ndaira] at hooker,’’ Kurri assistant secretary Jeff Polglase said.

Meanwhile, the Port Stephens Sharks’ decision to move club training to Raymond Terrace’s Lakeside Sporting Complex is bearing fruit.

Last year’s wooden spooners have signed former Terrace Magpies’ Gavin Quinn, Joel Osborn and Willie Pole’o, who were all back-to-back premiership winners with Maitland in 2010 and 2011.

New Sharks coach Peter Walsh and also signed former Pickers Lachlan Hickey and Dale and Grant Clacherty. 

‘‘I’ve had 80 at training for the last couple of weeks so that’s a big plus because if I wanted to turn things around I needed the bodies,’’ Walsh said.

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