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The Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has revealed he would jump at the chance to sign Canterbury forward Tevita Pangai Junior if he was to become available.
Bennett is busy trying to fill a roster for the The Dolphins debut NRL campaign in 2023. Indeed he has much work to do with only a handful of players currently signed up for the inaugural season.
Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Mark Nicholls are among those to have signed. However Bennett has also confirmed his interest in Cameron Munster and Anthony Milford.
The Dolphins have work to do
Warriors fullback Reece Walsh is another to be on the radar although a hands-off warning has been issued. So far a marquee signing has yet to arrive.
Bennett has missed out on Kalyn Ponga and Harry Grant as they have committed to the Knights and Storm respectively. However Bennett is refusing to reach for the panic button and insists he has time.
One player who he would love to get on board is Pangai Junior. Unfortunately for Bennett he is tied to the Bulldogs for the foreseeable future and is going nowhere.
Pangai Junior finished last season with the Panthers helping them win the premiership. Before that he had six seasons with the Broncos. Three of those were with Bennett and the super coach says he was a delight to work with.
As far as Bennett is concerned Pangai Junior was never a problem. He is just disappointed he is tied to the Bulldogs for the next three years.
God-given talent says Bennett
“I have a lot of time for Tevita. He was no trouble for me. I knew how to handle Tevita,” Bennett told reporters. “If he was on the open market tomorrow, I would sign him in a heartbeat for the Dolphins. He was one of the guys I really enjoyed coaching at the Broncos.
“He actually came to the Broncos because of me. Tevita was at Canberra at the time and he called me up and said he wanted to be coached by me. He played some excellent games for me at the Broncos.
“I saw him as a kid playing at Newcastle and I thought ‘I would love to coach that kid one day’. He just has skills that can’t be coached. He has God-given talent. It always comes back to being coached at the right club. The system can make you into a better player, but you also need to have the desire.”
Pangai Junior was one of a number of high-profile signings for the Bulldogs. So far it has not worked out as they sit 1-6 for the NRL season.
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