Kevin Proctor to break up Storm's Kiwi 'big three' for $2m Titans deal

The Gold Coast Titans are on the verge of unveiling Kiwis back-rower Kevin Proctor as their latest signing with a $2 million deal starting next season. 

The NRL Premiership winner was this week given clearance by the Melbourne Storm to negotiate with the Titans and will be released from the final two years of his contract. 

"We are definitely in talks with him," Titans operations chief Tony Mestrov told the Courier Mail. 

"We haven't spoken directly to Melbourne, we are leaving that to his manager. He has to get a release from Melbourne and we'll go from there."

Proctor will arrive on the Gold Coast as a straight replacement for NSW Origin forward Greg Bird, who has signed with French club Catalans Dragons. 

It is understood the Titans are negotiating a three-year deal worth $500,000 annually, but will consider a fourth season tying Proctor to the Gold Coast until the end of 2020.

"We haven't signed off on the contract yet, but things are progressing well and hopefully we get a positive outcome," Mestrov said. 

"We will know more in the next few days."

Earlier this month, the 27-year-old from Te Kuiti welcomed the arrival of his second child with partner Leesa, who grew up on the Gold Coast, while the pair first met there while attending Palm Beach Currumbin High School.

"I've played my whole career with him, so to see him go would be pretty sad because he's pretty close to me and my family," said Storm and Kiwis team-mate Jesse Bromwich. 

"I'm hoping we can keep him there but he's got to do what’s best for him."

Proctor has been at the Storm since 2008, playing 179 first grade games.

Proctor will turn out for New Zealand in their opening Four Nations match against England in Leeds this weekend.

Proctor has reportedly signed a multi-million dollar deal to join the Gold Coast Titans who are look to replace Greg Bird. Source: 1 NEWS


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'They're a talented rugby league nation': Kiwis get high praise from super coach Wayne Bennett ahead of England clash

England's supercoach and New Zealand's super green rookie go head-to-head in the Four Nations opening weekend, in a match that could decide Australia's finals opponent.

Meanwhile the Kangaroos are afforded an early tournament warm-up against minnows Scotland as new coach Mal Meninga searches for his best 17.

The Dally M Medal winner insists that he isn't taking being benched during the Kiwis 26-6 loss to Australia personally. Source: 1 NEWS

The three coaches of the major nations, England's Wayne Bennett, New Zealand's David Kidwell and Meninga have just four games experience heading up their current sides between them.

Of course seven-time NRL premiership winning mentor Bennett is one of rugby league's greatest and most experienced clipboard holders. Meninga meanwhile led Queensland to an unprecedented eight successive State of Origin titles.

Whereas Kidwell, who has plenty of experience as an NRL assistant but none as a head coach, admitted to some rookie errors in his first match in charge of the Kiwis in their 26-6 loss to Australia in Perth two weeks ago.

Australia are warm favourites to reclaim their Four Nations crown they surrendered to the Kiwis in Wellington in 2014. If they do go undefeated through the tournament, they will probably meet the winner of Sunday's round one clash between New Zealand and England in Huddersfield.

England have never won the Four Nations, or its predecessor the Tri Nations, a tournament which began in 1999.

England are traditionally harder to beat at home and lost the 2011 final to Australia at Leeds.

But Bennett knows World No.1 New Zealand are a much more hardened team since then.

"They're a talented rugby league nation who know how to play the game and use the ball," Bennett said.

"Playing in intense games like these is something they are used to and is something we need to match and work hard if we want to get the result."

Kidwell was widely criticised for his underuse of Dally M winner Jason Taumalolo in Perth and the former Kiwis international said he had taken some "harsh" lessons from that loss. Despite a number of below-par efforts from Kiwis players in that game, Kidwell has stuck with the same 17.

"In Perth, a lot of our guys hadn't played for a long period of time," Kidwell said.

"The result wasn't what we wanted but all the players were better off for the run and we will look to build from that."

Sam Burgess' return to the England side for the first time since his defection to rugby union could be key.

Burgess missed last week's big win over France due to suspension.

"Sam's ready to pull on the England rugby league shirt," Bennett said.

"It's been a few years since he played over here and I'm sure the sell-out crowd at Huddersfield will be keen to see him out there."

A Kangaroos side boasting five debutants in Matt Moylan, Justin O'Neill, James Maloney, Jake Trbojevic and Jake Friend is expected to make light work of Scotland in Hull on Saturday.

The match is a genuine selection trial for the bigger games ahead.

"I do have an idea of what my best possible squad would be but all players know they can break into the top team with a strong performance," Meninga said.

NRL players Euan Aitken, Lachlan Coote, Luke Douglas and Kane Linnett are included in coach Steve McCormack's 19-man squad.

There was no mucking around for David Kidwell's troops, with his side getting stuck into a light gym workout. Source: 1 NEWS


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David Kidwell keeps confidence in Kiwis, names unchanged squad for Four Nations opener

David Kidwell has kept the faith with his Kiwis side despite their 26-6 drubbing at the hands of the Kangaroos two weeks ago by naming the same squad to face England in their opening Four Nations clash.

The Kiwis coach has given Solomone Kata and Jordan Rapana, who both debuted internationally in the loss in Perth, another shot while Shaun Kenny-Dowall also managed to retain his place in the side despite heavy criticism for what was labeled his worst ever performance in the black jersey.

The Kiwis playmaker insisted that the side will only get better after the 26-6 loss to Australia in Perth. Source: 1 NEWS

Kidwell put the performances such as Kenny-Dowall's down time off.

"We understand the challenge that's ahead of us and we need to be at our best," he said.

The Dally M Medal winner insists that he isn't taking being benched during the Kiwis 26-6 loss to Australia personally. Source: 1 NEWS

"In Perth, a lot of our guys hadn't played for a long period of time. The result wasn't what we wanted but all the players were better off for the run and we will look to build from that."

Back-rower Greg Eastwood replaces Joseph Tapine as 19th man in the only change to the squad for the Sunday morning NZT Test in Huddersfield.

England have named four changes for the Test from the side that dismantled France 40-6 last weekend.

Sam Burgess has been named in the side for the first time in three years after serving his suspension last week. It will be his first Test as captain of the team too.

Kiwis: Jordan Kahu, Jason Nightingale, Solomone Kata, Shaun Kenny- Dowall, Jordan Rapana; Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson; Jesse Bromwich (capt), Issac Luke, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris, Jason Taumalolo.

Kiwis Interchange: Lewis Brown, Martin Taupau, Manu Ma'u, Adam Blair. Greg Eastwood

England squad: John Bateman, George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Liam Farrell, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Dan Sarginson, Kallum Watkins, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.

There was no mucking around for David Kidwell's troops, with his side getting stuck into a light gym workout. Source: 1 NEWS


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