St George Illawarra Dragons grant Jamie Soward immediate release to join London Broncos
The Daily Telegraph
June 17, 2013 6:46PM
Jamie Soward's days as a Dragon are over. Picture: Brett Costello Source: The Daily Telegraph
JAMIE Soward has played his final game for St George Illawarra after finalising a short-term deal with UK Super League outfit the London Broncos.
The Dragons granted Soward a release from the final four months of his current contract, clearing a path for the 28-year-old to link with London prior to taking up a four-season deal at Penrith in 2014.
Having been dropped following St George Illawarra's round 12 loss to Canterbury, Soward has spent the past two weekends playing for NSW Cup feeder side Illawarra Cutters.
It's understood Dragons coach Steve Price was not satisfied with the five-eighth's form, as well as some minor disciplinary issues that gave an insight into his state of mind.
Soward's agent, Sam Ayoub, began negotiating with UK Super League clubs over a week ago but had to wait until today to secure the release.
Soward has also applied for a UK work permit and is expected to leave Australia as soon as next week.
"Whilst I would have liked to have finished the season out, I am looking forward to the opportunity presented to me overseas for the remainder of this season," Soward said.
"Rugby league is a business and this is the right thing for me and the Dragons."
St George Illawarra CEO Peter Doust admitted Soward's sudden demise was not ideal.
"It is fair to say that mid-season signings and transfers are not ideal for clubs, players or fans but that is the system in which we work," Doust said.
"This is not how the club or Jamie envisaged things would end and efforts were made to avoid this circumstance, but both parties agree that this is the best outcome."
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Titans rule out bid for Bulldogs star Ben Barba
Gold Coast Bulletin
June 18, 2013 12:00AM
Canterbury star fullback Ben Barba. Source: Getty Images
THE Titans will not try to sign Dally M medallist Ben Barba, with coach John Cartwright declaring William Zillman will be Gold Coast's long-term fullback.
Cartwright last night ruled the Titans out of contention for Barba, who is shaping as Corey Norman's successor at the Broncos next year if Canterbury agree to release him from the final two years of his contract with the Bulldogs.
The Titans and Broncos were linked to Barba last week, with Gold Coast co-owner Darryl Kelly saying the club would consider signing the livewire No.1.
But Cartwright said that would not be the case, instead throwing his support behind vice-captain Zillman who is in the first season of a five-year contract.
"We're totally happy with Zilly at fullback," he said.
"He's in as good a form as any fullback in the game at the moment.
"Ben Barba is from Queensland and there's talk of his ex-partner and children moving back to the Gold Coast. People put two and two together."
Cartwright's assurance will be welcome news for Zillman, believed to have been alarmed at the Titans continually being linked to fullbacks such as Josh Dugan, Matt Bowen and English star Sam Tomkins.