Bulldogs, Harawira-Naera to talk it over

Canterbury are yet to decide if Corey Harawira-Naera will play for them again or be released.
Canterbury are yet to decide if Corey Harawira-Naera will play for them again or be released.

Canterbury bosses will meet with banned Kiwi forward Corey Harawira-Naera on Friday before a decision is made on whether the second-rower will stay at the NRL club.

Earlier this week, Harawira-Naera and Bulldogs winger Jayden Okunbor both successfully overturned their deregistrations to allow them to rejoin the NRL.

Okunbor is believed to be keen to resume his career at Canterbury after his adjusted ban for his role in the schoolgirl sex scandal ends after round 14.

However, Harawira-Naera shapes as a more challenging prospect.

There have been reports this week he is furious with Canterbury over their handling of the scenario and does not want to play for them again.

But his camp has insisted to AAP he will enter the talks with an open mind as the two parties bid to resolve their differences and make their relationship work.

Regardless, Harawira-Naera will be free to return to playing next week, after having his deregistration reduced to a 10-week ban.

It was initially thought both players would return as free agents if their independent appeal against the NRL's punishment was successful.

As they were sacked by the Bulldogs before they were deregistered, they have landed back on Canterbury's books.

If Harawira-Naera was to leave, the 25-year-old would either need to seek a request from Canterbury or have his contract terminated.

There would likely be no shortage of interested clubs given the Test forward was at one stage one of the most promising back-rowers in the competition.

It comes after Bulldogs players this week stated they wanted the pair back at the club under interim coach Steve Georgallis.

"From a playing point of view, and all the players are in agreeance, we want them back," veteran prop Tolman said.

"For us as players, if the NRL believes they have done their time and that is the penalty warranted then we want them back here and playing."

The Bulldogs were scathing of the duo when they were initially deregistered, saying they supported the NRL's move and claimed the pair "demonstrated an unacceptable lack of respect".

The pre-season incident was reported to have cost the club a lucrative front-of-jersey sponsorship, with the Bulldogs still the only team in the NRL without a major sponsor.

Australian Associated Press