Raiders sign English prop Sutton to boost pack
Canberra have landed a big man double whammy with the signing of English prop Ryan Sutton set to be complemented by the retention of Queensland enforcer Josh Papalii.
The Raiders have hit back in the scramble for marquee front-rowers, luring Sutton from Wigan on a two-year deal from next season.
The club had money to spend and a 240kg void to fill up front with Junior Paulo returning to Parramatta and Shannon Boyd moving to the Gold Coast in 2019.
A new three-year deal for Papalii, which will keep the Logan junior in the nation's capital until the end of 2021, is expected to be announced in the next week.
Canberra have already ruled themselves out of contention for Bulldogs bookend Aaron Woods, who could potentially be moved on to ease Canterbury's dire salary cap situation despite signing a lucrative four-year deal only 12 months ago.
Nathan Brown has however confirmed the Knights would be interested in Woods, who this week lost the NSW berth he has held since 2013, if he came at the right price.
"Any time there's front-rowers on the market we're always discussing that," Brown said on Wednesday.
"I'm not sure what the story is with Canterbury, whether he is a moveable piece.
"We certainly came into this year two or three middles short, so we're in a strong position if someone like Woodsy became available and we thought it was part of the plan and he wanted to come.
"I'm not sure how much truth's in any of it."
Sutton, 22, comes highly rated after playing 100 Super League games with the Warriors.
"Ryan is a tremendous young talent who I know was looking for an opportunity to test himself in the NRL and we're thrilled to have been able to get him into our squad for the next two seasons," Raiders recruitment chief Peter Mulholland said.
"He's been in tremendous form for Wigan this season and we're looking forward to him having a big pre-season with the Raiders and making the move into the NRL.
Both the Eels and Knights had expressed interest in Sutton earlier this year, while the Raiders have also been in the hunt for teammate and English international John Bateman.
Bateman, a back-rower/centre with 11 Tests to his name, has a get-out clause in his Wigan contract that allows him to pursue an NRL move provided an undisclosed transfer fee is paid.
The Raiders came into 2018 with a host of big names off-contract, but are expected to also retain halfback Aidan Sezer and veteran Sia Soliola as negotiations continue with the pair.