It’s of little consolation now, but boom Panthers second-rower Corey Harawira-Naera has revealed how close he came to leaving the Panthers, and taking the bus to Concord.
According to SMH, Harawira-Naera had made up his mind to join the Tigers, before the Panthers came up with the offer that he ultimately took.
“I was pretty close to going there,” said Harawira-Naera. “It was a bit hard because my mind was made up to go to the Tigers, but once they showed interest here, I wouldn’t say I backflipped, but I changed my mind.”
The surprising part of that story isn’t that he came close to leaving – elite young talent like him doesn’t remain unsigned for long. Rather, it’s the fact that it was the Tigers who were his likely destination – all the talk prior to his re-signing was that it was the Sharks who were likely to land him.
This should be viewed as a positive by Tigers fans. Firstly, it shows that they’re looking at dynamic young players that they can build around in the future; but secondly, that as an organisation, they’re capable of going about their business without internal leaks.
Put it together, and the Tigers seem like a far more professional outfit than we’re used to.