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Bateman marched for horror Sezer tackle, Haas may sit out World Cup, Munster, Brooks, Brown on signings carousel

John Bateman was sent off in Wigan’s preliminary final defeat to Leeds after a horror tackle on former Raiders teammate Aidan Sezer.

The England international caught the Rhinos halfback late and high as he kicked down the field in the 51st minute and was straight marched by referee Liam Moore. Bateman and Sezer played on the same side in the 2019 Grand Final for the Green Machine.

Wigan were 14-4 behind at the time and went on to lose 20-8 in a major upset to Leeds, who were in disarray earlier in the season. They fired their coach, Richard Agar, and replaced him with Rohan Smith, son of legendary Brian Smith and last year’s Premiership-winning boss in the Queensland Cup.

Leeds will now face the winner of the second semi-final, between St Helens and Salford, at the Grand Final next weekend. It is their first appearance at the season showpiece since 2017.

Haas may sit out World Cup

Broncos prop Payne Haas could be pulling out of the World Cup due to family reasons.

There has been speculation that he could elect to play for Samoa but after playing two Tests for the Kangaroos in 2019, he has indicated he will likely declare for Australia at the World Cup next month, if he plays.

Due to family reasons, Haas is contemplating pulling the pin on heading to the UK tournament altogether.

He was not available for selection in the Prime Minister’s XIII game.

Roosters young gun Joseph Suaalii is all but certain to be in the Kangaroos’ World Cup squad despite being a late withdrawal from the Prime Minister’s XIII to play Papua New Guinea.

The PM’s XIII will play at Suncorp Stadium next Sunday and Suaalii’s Roosters teammate Matt Lodge’s chances of World Cup selection are hanging by a thread after he was not named in the squad to face the Kumuls.

Selectors chose players from the eight teams that missed the finals as well as Melbourne and the Roosters after they bowed out last weekend.

World Cup selection certainties Ben Hunt, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Angus Crichton have been named in the PMs XIII but the likes of James Tedesco, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and Patrick Carrigan are resting before the tour to England next month.

There are several players getting their first taste of representative football in the squad, including Dragons centre Zac Lomax, Bulldogs duo Jake Averillo and Max King, Tigers trio Daine Laurie, Luke Garner and Jake Simpkin, Storm lock Josh King, Gold Coast back-rower Beau Fermor and Warriors forward Josh Curran.

Jake Averillo passes the ball

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

PM’s XIII squad

  1. Daine Laurie
  2. Josh Addo-Carr
  3. Selwyn Cobbo
  4. Zac Lomax
  5. Jojo Fifita
  6. Matt Burton
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans
  8. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
  9. Ben Hunt
  10. Thomas Flegler
  11. Nat Butcher
  12. Angus Crichton
  13. Josh King
  14. Max King
  15. Beau Fermor
  16. Jake Simpkin
  17. Luke Garner
  18. Josh Curran
  19. Jake Averillo
  20. Sam Walker

Playmakers on signings carousel

Cameron Munster is set to make a decision on his playing future by the end of next week as teams start manoeuvring for playmakers in the 2024 season.

Munster’s agent Braith Anasta has indicated his client is keen to resolve his future now that the Storm are out of the playoff picture.

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has put his club in the race for Munster, confirming to NewsCorp that he has asked Anasta to keep them up to date with negotiations and to let them know if the Maroons star would be willing to switch to Concord.

Munster is likely to switch to the Dolphins on a deal worth seven figures per season if he leaves the Storm.

Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown is in the Storm’s sights as a potential replacement for Munster, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report, while Wests Tigers playmaker Luke Brooks could again be in Newcastle’s sights with the Knights desperate to sign a top-line halfback.

Earlier this week, Storm legend Cameron Smith said he thinks Munster will play his final season in Melbourne next year.

“If I’m brutally honest, if he was going to commit to the Melbourne Storm and sign on and extend his contract, he would’ve done so by now,” Smith said on SEN radio. “That’s my gut feeling.

“He’s been at the club since he was 16 years of age and we’ve heard (Munster’s manager) Braith Anasta come out and say the Melbourne Storm offer is in the area where it should be, so what’s holding him back? I’d love him to stay but I feel like he will be going to the Dolphins.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 03: Dylan Brown of the Eels celebrates with his team mates after scoring a try during the round four NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons at CommBank Stadium, on April 03, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Broncos shake up coaching staff

The Broncos have punted assistant coach Terry Matterson and team manager Steve Walters has also left in a shake-up to their coaching staff after their limp end to the season cost them a finals berth.

Brisbane, who plummeted from fourth to ninth in the final six rounds, have brought in former English playmaker Lee Briers as an assistant to Kevin Walters.

It is an awkward situation for Walters. He has another season left on his contract and the club has indicated it will only do one-year extensions in future if the team’s performances merit new deals.

“Both Terry and Steve have worked tirelessly in their roles over recent years and everyone at the club is extremely thankful for their significant contribution to the Broncos,” Walters said in a statement. “Steve has been working as a football manager for the last 20 years and approached me towards the end of the season about moving on to pursue things away from the club.”

John Cartwright and Matt Ballin will remain on the coaching staff.

“Lee will come in as a development coach and will be also looking after the newer players that come across from the (Broncos) academy,” Walters told AAP.

Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy said a review of the season had informed their decision making.

“The process was a normal review that we do every year and we will take those learnings and ensure that we keep improving. We were disappointed with the last month of the season but the team and club have taken great strides and our goal is to continue on that path in 2023.”

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