Jack Wighton has agreed a lucrative new deal with the Canberra Raiders through to the end of the 2024 NRL season.

Considered one of the best playmakers in rugby league, Wighton's new contract is said to be one of the biggest in the team's history and could reportedly earn him as much as three million Australian dollars.

Wighton won the Clive Churchill Medal in the Raiders' Grand Final defeat to the Sydney Roosters last season and was already contracted throughout 2020 but Canberra opted to negotiate a new deal after he decided not to take up his player option for the following campaign.

After committing his future to the Raiders, Wighton said his desire is to end a wait for premiership glory that dates back to 1994.

"I want to win a competition with the Raiders," he said in quotes reported by the Raiders' official website. 

"I know we have the squad to do it and if we can stay together and continue what we've built we'll be able to achieve our goal.

"I love the club. They've always been there for me and I want to repay them by staying and playing the best footy I can to be successful."

The Raiders begin the 2020 season at home to the Gold Coast Titans on Friday March 13.

Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris insisted Josh Morris would remain with the NRL club despite reportedly asking to join the Sydney Roosters.

Josh Morris, 33, was reported to have requested a move to the Roosters to play alongside his brother Brett.

Sharks coach John Morris confirmed the veteran was considering his options, but ruled out a move for the New South Wales representative.

"There was an enquiry there around Josh's side and I think our fans and members deserve the full truth," he told the NRL website.

"There is an option there for him to take up a deal to play with his brother, but as head coach of the Sharks I have got to make sure I put out a competitive team on the park every week that can win us games and hopefully win the grand final.

"Josh Morris is our most experienced player and he will be here in 2020. We have just lost 1,000 games of experience with Paul Gallen gone, Matt Prior gone, Sosaia Feki gone, Kurt Capewell gone and Jayden Brailey gone.

"Apart from 'Gal', a lot of these are the results of a pretty horrific salary cap fine that was levelled against our club and that happened before I started, but I will do my best to bring the club through it."

Formerly of the St George Illawarra Dragons and Canterbury Bulldogs, Josh Morris arrived at the Sharks for the 2019 season.

The centre scored 15 tries as Cronulla finished seventh before falling in an Elimination Final to the Manly Sea Eagles.

But Josh Morris is reportedly unhappy at the Sharks with a move to the wing likely in 2020 after Jesse Ramien's return to the club from the Newcastle Knights.

George Burgess says he highly doubts his elder brother, Sam, will reverse his decision to retire, but he acknowledges there is a possibility the former South Sydney Rabbitohs skipper may "get the itch again".

At the age of 30, Sam Burgess announced his injury enforced retirement last October, revealing a chronic shoulder problem had essentially taken the decision out of his hands.

New South Wales Blues coach Brad Fittler reacted to the news by suggesting Burgess was likely to return to the NRL after a break.

When George Burgess was asked whether his sibling might be tempted to make a comeback following a few months' rest, he told Omnisport: "Maybe not a few months. Maybe [in] three years he might get the itch again.

"But we'll see. It wouldn't surprise me, but I would doubt it highly."

In an interview with Super League's 'Out of Your League' podcast released last week, Sam Burgess discussed his shoulder problem and said: "It just got to a point where my quality of life was terrible."

The cross-code star also revealed a doctor had told him he had "never seen a shoulder as bad", as he wrote off any chance of a playing return.

Asked how Sam was finding retirement, George - who is now with Wigan Warriors in the Super League - replied: "He's enjoying it. His body's thanking him for the rest, I think.

"He's just enjoying his next chapter as a retired player and I think he'll do some cool things."

 

Luke Thompson is to join NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs at the end of the Super League season from reigning champions St Helens.

The 24-year-old is out of contract at the end of the 2020 campaign and has made the decision to continue his career in Australia.

Thompson was man of the match when Saints won the Grand Final against Salford last season, his second title with the team.

If he ever opts to return to the Super League, the England and Great Britain prop would be warmly welcomed back by Saints, who expressed their regret at losing a player who made his debut in 2013 after coming through their academy.

"We accept and totally respect Luke's decision and wish him nothing but success in his career and in his life," Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said on Monday.

"There's no hiding from the fact that this is a bitter disappointment to all of us as Luke has been connected to the club since the age of 11 and has developed into an absolute top player at 24 years old."

Thompson has also won three League Leaders' Shields and made over 150 appearances for Saints, including last week’s emphatic 48-8 win over Salford in a Grand Final rematch that opened the 2020 season.

McManus added: "We are absolutely sure that he will be absolutely committed to the club and to his team-mates for the rest of this season.

"If ever he decides to return to England and to Super League then there would be a red carpet waiting for him at St Helens."

The Bulldogs finished 12th last season and have not made the NRL Finals since 2016.

Josh Addo-Carr has reaffirmed that he will remain with Melbourne Storm for the 2020 NRL season.

The Australia winger was granted an early release from his contract after asking to return home to Sydney for family reasons.

Melbourne stated that they would allow Addo-Carr, who is contracted until 2021, to move on provided the Storm get "fair value" through a combination of a transfer fee, a player swap and salary cap relief.

But with speculation over the 24-year-old's immediate future rumbling on, Addo-Carr has vowed to stay put for a fourth and final campaign with Craig Bellamy's side before looking to head home 12 months before his contract ends.

"I've always been happy living in Melbourne but I wanted to move back to Sydney for family reasons, for my kids to grow up surrounded by the rest of my family." said the flyer.

"I love the club and I love the boys - I'm looking forward to the 2020 season and I believe we can go all the way."

He added: "Last year was a very successful year - it's not easy to make it to a prelim.

"We can win the premiership in 2020. We've put in the work, now it's just about believing we can get there and backing ourselves."

Addo-Carr is reportedly a target for several New South Wales clubs.

Aidan Sezer described the controversial 'six again' call in last year's NRL Grand Final as "history" as he backed Canberra Raiders to bounce back and be crowned premiers in 2020.

The Raiders went down 14-8 to Sydney Roosters in the 2019 showpiece, but the contest was overshadowed by a hugely controversial refereeing decision.

With the scores tied at 8-8, head referee Ben Cummins initially signalled for another set of six after Canberra had regained possession from a fifth-tackle kick. Although he swiftly reversed that call on the advice of assistant Gerard Sutton and touch judge Chris Butler, the Raiders ran the ball - seemingly unaware of the decision being changed - and went on to concede a match-clinching try from the set that followed the resulting turnover.

Former Raiders half-back Sezer, who has moved to the Super League with Huddersfield Giants for 2020, sees no value in continuing to dwell on the drama as both he and Canberra prepare for new campaigns.

At the Super League season launch, he told Omnisport: "I think I can probably speak for the majority of the [Raiders] squad [in saying] you've got to put it to bed. It's done now, it's history."

Reflecting on his final season in Canberra, he added: "It was a bit of an up-and-down experience, but it was a great year. We made a Grand Final.

"I guess falling at the final hurdle was disappointing but I'm good mates with a lot of the boys back home, I wish them all the best and hopefully they can go one better in 2020.

"And on a personal front, coming over here, hopefully I can get a bit of silverware over here as well."

Asked if he was confident in Canberra's ability to improve on their runners-up finish last term, Sezer replied: "I think so. They've got all the makings to be a good team again, but, you know, the NRL is such a tough comp.

"In 2016 we made a major semi, then it took us a couple of years to get back there. But in saying that, I think the boys will learn from that experience.

"They're all mature players now and there's great leadership at the club. They'll be hungry to go one better because that experience obviously [puts] lots of fire in your belly to get back there and be crowned premiers."

Latrell Mitchell could prove "unstoppable" at full-back for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, according to former Bunnies prop George Burgess.

Mitchell completed a move to Souths earlier this month after agreeing a departure from city rivals Sydney Roosters.

The representative star for the New South Wales Blues and Kangaroos has made it clear he hopes to feature at full-back for his new club, having operated at centre for the Roosters in recent seasons.

Asked about his ex-club's capture of Mitchell, Burgess, who has joined Super League side Wigan Warriors, made it clear he expected big things from the 22-year-old.

"I think it's a great signing," Burgess told Omnisport at the Super League season launch.

"He's already achieved so much in the game, [winning] two Grand Finals, and he's got such a massive amount of talent.

"So I think if they can get him into [the] shape of a full-back ... and get him really trim and fit he's gonna be unstoppable in that position."

With Sam Burgess now retired and brother George having moved to Wigan, Souths have also made a notable addition to their forward pack, bringing in Jai Arrow from Gold Coast Titans.

Arrow is set to link up with the Bunnies from the start of the 2021 season, although the club remain keen to fast-track his arrival if possible.

"He's an absolute machine in the forward world in the NRL, what he does in the Origin," said George Burgess of Arrow.

"I think it will be great to see him in a team like South Sydney if he can get there for 2020. He's relied on heavily in the Gold Coast team so I think to have some more high-quality players around him, it will be great to see what he can do."

Former Australia head coach Michael Cheika has switched codes to take on a short-term advisory role with Sydney Roosters.

Cheika resigned as Wallabies boss after a Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to England last October.

The 52-year-old has been linked with Top 14 giants Montpellier, but for now he will work with the NRL champions' coaches and pass on his attacking skills expertise to the players.

Roosters head coach Trent Robinson told Sydney's Daily Telegraph: "He is helping push myself and the assistant coaches to improve and challenging our ideas and helping push us again in 2020.

"He is also a really skilful attacking style of coach as well. We are taking anything we can learn from his style of coaching and his attacking mindset.

"Cheiks loves the footy environment. He is a rugby union coach but he grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and he just loves footy, whether it’s union or league."

Cheika, a longtime friend of Robinson's, said: "Trent asked me to do some very specific stuff with a couple of the coaches and specific areas.

"He has got me on a few projects. I've loved it. I was really honoured that they thought I could contribute. I want to make sure the stuff I’m doing is contributing the way Trent wants me to.

"I've really enjoyed being involved with the lads. The coaches are fine men and the players are good lads."

 

Warrington Wolves have signed Gold Coast Titans prop Leilani Latu on a two-year deal.

The Tongan powerhouse arrives at the Halliwell Jones Stadium following two seasons with the Titans.

Warrington revealed Latu was in demand and head coach Steve Price believes the 26-year-old is yet to realise his potential.

"We are always looking for quality rugby players to bring to our club and we feel Leilani fits that," said Price.

"I'm looking forward to working with him and developing his game during his time at Warrington as we feel there is a lot more he can bring to the game."

Latu said: "I'm looking forward to getting into training with the boys and creating some combinations with them. It's an exciting brand of footy here and I couldn't turn down the opportunity.

"I chose Warrington because of the quality of players, and I have played with a couple of them back in the NRL, too; Ben Murdoch-Masila and Sitaleki Akauola at Penrith and we had some success there."

The Challenge Cup holders will face Wigan Warriors in the first match of the Super League season next Thursday.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs confirmed the signing of Australia and New South Wales representative Latrell Mitchell on a one-year deal.

Mitchell, 22, left the Sydney Roosters after four seasons with the NRL club and his move to the Rabbitohs was announced on Monday.

A four-time Kangaroos and Blues representative, centre Mitchell has signed for 2020 and the Rabbitohs hold an option to extend his deal for a further year.

"He has the ability to be one of the best players in the world and from our discussions with him he understands that it's going to take a lot of hard work and effort for him to be at his best consistently and to reach his full potential," Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson said in a statement.

"He will get that opportunity at the Rabbitohs, working with some wonderful mentors here in Wayne [Bennett], Jason [Demetriou], Ben [Hornby], Greg [Inglis], John [Sutton] and Sam [Burgess], and we're really looking forward to seeing Latrell at his peak wearing the famous cardinal and myrtle jersey that so many greats of the game have worn before him.

"He understands 'The Rabbitoh Way' and what it means to represent the Rabbitohs. He has a family connection to our club with his father Matt having played here, his family are South Sydney supporters, and we're looking forward to welcoming him and his young family to the Rabbitohs this year.

"He is a very proud Indigenous man, a young leader in the Indigenous community and we know that he will be of great support to Souths Cares and its programs in the Indigenous community.

"Things in the player market changed recently which saw us move into a position to be able to bring him to our club, and for him to make us his club of choice.

"We're very excited that this opportunity has come to fruition and our members should be equally as enthusiastic about having a player of Latrell's ability joining our ranks."

Mitchell helped the Roosters win the NRL premiership in 2018 and 2019, while the Rabbitohs fell in the Preliminary Finals last year.

Latrell Mitchell announced his departure from Sydney Roosters ahead of a rumoured switch to NRL rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Mitchell confirmed his exit in an Instagram post on Friday, with the New South Wales and Australia star reportedly poised to join the Rabbitohs for the 2020 season.

The Roosters withdrew a new contract offer to Mitchell – whose existing deal covers the upcoming season – in November, while the NRL champions on Sunday granted the centre a leave of absence ahead of their return to pre-season training.

Mitchell played 96 NRL games and won back-to-back premierships with the Roosters in 2018 and 2019 after debuting in 2016.

"Firstly I want to thank @sydneyroosters for everything they have done for me and my family," the 22-year-old wrote. "I cannot describe the way I feel right now but just wanted to let everyone know involved in my career through my stint here, I am so very grateful for you all.

"To the fans, thanks you! Wouldn't be a game without you. Humbled to be able to play with such a rich history club didn't think as a country boy I'd be able to transition to the city but Roosters made that possible.

"To the boys!! I love yas. Playing alongside of you all was something I'll hold close to my heart.

"Nothing has been made official as of yet. But my stay at the Roosters has come to an end. On to the next chapter where ever that may be [heart emojis]."

Latrell Mitchell has seemingly moved closer to an exit from Sydney Roosters after the club granted him a leave of absence ahead of their return to pre-season training.

One of the most highly rated players in the NRL, Mitchell has been the subject of persistent speculation linking him with a transfer away from the reigning premiers, with South Sydney Rabbitohs now reported to be his most likely destination.

In November, the Roosters confirmed they had withdrawn a new contract offer to the centre, whose existing deal covers the upcoming season, after he "expressed that he would like to explore his options for season 2021".

A fresh club statement on Sunday read: "In lead-up to the club's return to pre-season, Sydney Roosters player Latrell Mitchell has been granted a leave of absence, excusing him from all training commitments.

"The club will be making no further comment at this time."

While a host of NRL sides have been linked with Mitchell, the Rabbitohs have emerged as the leading contenders to sign the 22-year-old Australia international, despite coach Wayne Bennett stating last week: "We won't be signing Latrell." 

The evolving world of sport means a new decade is likely to see widespread change.

With superstars like Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Roger Federer and Lewis Hamilton unlikely to be plying their trades in 2030, the stage is set for new names to come to the fore.

Omnisport's team of writers have tipped 20 20-year-olds to do just that over the next 10 years.

 

Men's football: Joao Felix

A €126m move from Benfica to Atletico Madrid made Joao Felix the second most expensive teenager in football history. His career in LaLiga is yet to truly ignite but the forward's lavish gifts are beyond doubt as he faces up to the decade when Cristiano Ronaldo will leave the stage for their native Portugal. Joao Felix is the anointed heir.

Basketball: Luka Doncic

The 2018 EuroLeague MVP and 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year, Doncic's incredible rise has continued unchecked this season – he is averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 9.0 assists for the Dallas Mavericks. He should earn a first All-Star appearance this season and make his bow in the playoffs, where you would expect to see him featuring regularly in the coming years.

Cricket: Prithvi Shaw

Opening batsman Shaw became the youngest Indian to score a Test hundred on debut in 2018 and followed that up with a half-century in his second appearance. However, last year was one to forget for Shaw, who had injury problems before serving a six-month doping ban having taken a substance typically found in cough syrups. A first-class double hundred last month suggests he is ready to make up for lost time.

Tennis: Marketa Vondrousova

Although she was unable to win a title on the WTA Tour in 2019, Vondrousova was the runner-up at the French Open – one of three final appearances last year – and having risen to 16th in the world rankings she looks set to break the top 10 soon. The Czech's unorthodox playing style and penchant for drop shots makes her a particularly entertaining watch.

Formula One: Lando Norris

Norris enjoyed an excellent debut season in Formula One, helping McLaren to an impressive fourth place in the constructors' championship. After landing three straight points finishes to end the year, he carries momentum into 2020 and looks capable of challenging Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen over the next 10 years.

UFC: Chase Hooper

Featherweight Hooper was awarded a development deal after winning the second season of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series in 2018 and is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster. He improved his unbeaten mixed martial arts record to 8-0-1 by stopping David Teymur in the first round of a thoroughly impressive UFC debut in December.

American football: Trevor Lawrence

The NFL is blessed with talented young quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, but the potential star of the 2020s will not enter the league until 2021 at the earliest. Clemson's Lawrence possess the size, skill and nerve to succeed at the next level. He is still yet to lose a game in college and is one win away from back-to-back National Championships.

Sport climbing: Janja Garnbret

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and Garnbret is a favourite for success. She successfully defended her bouldering and combined titles at last year's world championships and added gold in the lead discipline. The Slovenian's tally of 14 International Federation of Sport Climbing titles is unprecedented.

Rugby league: Tom Flegler

Front-rower Flegler enjoyed a hugely promising breakthrough year with Brisbane Broncos in 2019, featuring 23 times in his maiden campaign. He has reportedly knocked back a host of lucrative offers to remain with Brisbane in 2020 and will now aim to make an even bigger impact.

Women's football: Georgia Stanway

Vastly experienced for her age, Stanway joined Manchester City from Blackburn Rovers and made her Women's Super League debut at 16 in 2015. She won her second FA Cup with a goalscoring player-of-the-match display as City beat West Ham 3-0 in 2019's Wembley final and was the youngest member of an England squad Phil Neville led to the World Cup semi-finals. If the Lionesses are to take the next step over the coming decade, expect Stanway to play a vital role.

Rugby union: Marcus Smith

Harlequins fly-half Smith is knocking on the door for full England selection after an impressive first two years of his club career. He was man of the match in last July's win over Barbarians, which fans of Eddie Jones' side will hope is a sign of things to come over the next decade.

Golf: Matthew Wolff

The PGA Tour welcomed a host of talented rookies in 2019, but Wolff may just be the best of the bunch. A standout college player with an unorthodox swing that generates enormous power, he won last July's 3M Open in only his third professional start.

MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo

After Jorge Lorenzo, the only man to defeat Marc Marquez in a MotoGP world championship, retired, and with Valentino Rossi nearing the end of his career, fans are looking to the next generation. That group looks set to be led by Quartararo, who will ride a factory-spec Yamaha for 2020 after claiming six pole positions and seven podiums in a magnificent rookie season.

Golf: Nasa Hataoka

Already fifth in the women's world rankings, Hataoka has claimed three LPGA Tour titles in the past 18 months, after becoming the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour back in 2016.

Baseball: Vladimir Guerrero Jnr

Guerrero has a lot to live up to but has already shown enough to suggest he may follow his father into baseball's Hall of Fame. Having signed for the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent in 2015, Guerrero served his time in the minors before making his debut in the Major Leagues last April. He spent the rest of his maiden season displaying the kind of power that has marked him out as a star of the future, hitting .272, mashing 15 home runs and knocking in 69 RBI. By the end of the next decade, his may well be the face of baseball.

Ice Hockey: Quinn Hughes

Hughes, who could not even debut for the Vancouver Canucks until he recovered from an ankle injury in March, is an elite defenseman who also sat top of the rookie assist chart in late December.

Swimming: Michael Andrew

This year is an Olympic one and for the first time since the 1996 Games, Michael Phelps will not be in the pool. The United States needs a new swimming hero, and the hope is that Phelps' namesake can be the next star. Andrew was the youngest US swimmer to ever turn professional when he did so at 14 and, having finished fourth in the 50 metres butterfly at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, he appears primed to be a breakout star in Tokyo.

Tennis: Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov finished 2019 at a career-high ATP ranking of 15th, having won his first title in Stockholm. Expect his threat at the 2020 majors to be very real.

Athletics: Sydney McLaughlin

At the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, gold in the 4x400 metres relay followed silver in the 400m hurdles for McLaughlin. Only a Dalilah Muhammad world record was enough to deny her the victory.

Boxing: Joseph Adorno

Currently plying his trade in the lightweight division, Adorno was brought up in Puerto Rico and his thunderous left hook has drawn comparisons to Miguel Cotto – the great four-weight world champion hailing from that boxing-mad island. Promoters Top Rank will look to step up Adorno's level of opposition in 2020, although anyone climbing into the corner opposite a young man boasting a 14-0 record with 12 knockouts should make sure they get well paid.

Canterbury Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson has re-signed with the NRL club for a further three years.

Jackson, 28, has played 181 games for the Bulldogs since making his NRL debut for Canterbury in 2012.

The former Australia and New South Wales representative extended his stay with the Bulldogs on Sunday.

"It really is fantastic news and a great early Christmas present for our members and fans that Josh has re-signed with the club," Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill said in a statement.

"He is an incredibly popular figure here at Belmore and he represents everything that is great about our club in the way that he carries himself on and off the field.

"He is a quality player who leads from the front every week but just as importantly he is an outstanding person who contributes a great deal in the community and is loved by all of our supporters.

"I know how much this club means to Josh and the pride he has in putting on the jersey every week, so it is great that he has committed to what we are building here now and for the future."

The Bulldogs finished the 2019 season in a disappointing 12th in the table.

Melbourne Storm are exploring options to grant Josh Addo-Carr an early release from his contract on compassionate grounds.

The Storm said last month Addo-Carr, who has a contract that runs until the end of 2021, had reaffirmed his commitment to the team.

However, a change in the former Wests Tigers wing's family circumstances means he is keen to move back to Sydney.

Melbourne CEO Dave Donaghy stated they are looking at ways to let Addo-Carr go following the 2020 season but will be seeking "fair value" through a combination of a transfer fee, a player swap and salary cap relief.

"We believe this would be a fair outcome for all parties given the investment Storm has made in Josh and that we find ourselves on the cusp of the 2020 season," Donaghy wrote in a letter addressed to members.

"Most importantly, it would allow Josh's request to be met and we, and the game, would be able to continue to support him and his family in the transition back to Sydney."

Addo-Carr was linked with a return to the Tigers after they withdrew an offer to Latrell Mitchell.

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