Coach Trent Barrett gestures during a Manly training session.
Coach Trent Barrett gestures during a Manly training session. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Chooks sack half, Manly crisis as playmaker released

MANLY'S halves shortage is at breaking point. Still without a replacement for Warriors-bound five-eighth Blake Green, they've now lost another playmaker.

Former Gold Coast Titans playmaker Cameron Cullen has left the club after being granted a release to return to Queensland.

Cullen has left the Sea Eagles after one season to link with Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup.

After missing out on signing Matt Moylan and Mitchell Pearce, alleged third-party breaches could see the NRL impose sanctions which would prevent Manly from adding any more cattle to their list for 2018.

The club is yet to respond to the NRL's breach notice.

So thin and with the uncertainty around their salary cap position, the Sea Eagles' season is one injury away from going on life support.

Cameron Cullen (right) celebrates a try with Manly teammates.
Cameron Cullen (right) celebrates a try with Manly teammates. PAUL MILLER

While Cullen, 24, only managed a handful of games in the top grade, he was brought to the club to play the utility role.

His rookie year at the Titans was spent in the halves and he starred in the NSW Cup for Blacktown wearing the No.7.

Joining the club after a strong debut season with the Gold Coast, Cullen made five appearances for the Sea Eagles in 2017.

While his form in reserve grade was strong enough to see him named halfback in the ISP NSW team of the year, he was used in a hooking capacity at NRL level.

He started one game in the No.9 with the others from the bench.

It's understood the lack of opportunity led to his request to be released and forgo his NRL deal to link with the Dolphins.

While the Dolphins act as a feeder to Brisbane, he won't be linking with the Broncos after they signed former Melbourne NYC hooker Jake Turpin.

"It has been tough and everything I expected,” Turpin told the club website of his move.

"I am just really happy to be at a great club like the Broncos.”

Jayden Nikorima (left) moves in to make a tackle against the Rabbitohs.
Jayden Nikorima (left) moves in to make a tackle against the Rabbitohs. DEAN LEWINS

Cullen's not the only player to return to the Queensland Cup with Roosters playmaker Jayden Nikorima sacked from the final year of his NRL deal due to a second failed drugs test.

The No.6 was handed a 12-match suspension for the infringement but won't serve it with the Tricolours after they tore up his $370,000 a year contract.

He's now expected to return to Queensland where he'll most likely link with Norths.

The 21-year-old made his NRL debut with the Roosters in 2016 after coming through the Broncos' system.



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