Dragons ready recruitment raid to snag Luki from Cowboys early
November 19, 2023
Heilum Luki is set to become the next big objective for St George Illawarra powerbrokers among Shane Flanagan’s many high-profile targets, with the breakout young Cowboys star a top priority for the incoming head coach.
Flanagan has been diving into the transfer market wherever he can since getting his feet under the Dragons desk, including making audacious bids for Joseph Manu and Addin Fonua-Blake.
His latest big-money target is Luki, who The Sporting Base understands he considers one of the next big stars in the NRL. He believes if he can get his hands on Luki for a long-term contract, he can build the rest of the Dragons pack around the 22-year-old who already boasts international experience with Samoa.
While little has been done officially yet, Flanagan and the Red V bosses have been putting the finishing touches on their recruitment drive, David Riccio reported for SEN this week, with things to ramp up quite soon.
Luki is signed through to 2025 with the Cowboys and would have to be released early.
Luki has had the interest of most of the NRL since he debuted against Newcastle in 2021. Since that 36-20 win where he scored on debut, the 22-year-old has gone on to play 38 games and score 10 tries. Many believe it is only a matter of time before the breakout second-rower makes his way into the State of Origin arena with Queensland.
The Dragons have also been very interested in signing Tom Dearden.
Flanagan and the club see Dearden, also still just 22, as the long-term successor to Ben Hunt. St George Illawarra’s halfback and skipper is signed through to 2025 but is well past 30 and has antagonised for a release several times in the last twelve months. Incumbent five-eighth Junior Amone is also facing a lengthy prison sentence.
Earlier this week, the club beat the Panthers to signing Storm forward Tom Eisenhuth. He will likely slot into the second-row rotation alongside Jayden Su’A and Dan Russell heading into the year.