Training camps have become more important than ever for NRL clubs when it comes to team camaraderie.
But Doueihi wanted to take the time to clear his head – and hopefully his future – with Souths more than happy to accommodate.
Despite Souths’ interest in landing Jai Arrow from the Gold Coast a year early, the club have made it known they are under no cap pressure to move Doueihi on.
It was less than a fortnight ago Doueihi was preparing to wear the No. 1 jersey after initially being told he would be in the No. 6 before Cody Walker re-signed.
Souths and the Tigers have become locked in a stalemate over Doueihi with the Tigers wanting Souths to pitch in their fair share for the utlity’s current contract. The Tigers, however, desperately need to sign a top-quality outside back like Doueihi and can not afford to low-ball the Balmain junior, especially after the club lost out to Souths with Mitchell.
It has now become a priority for Doueihi and Souths to know what is happening so they can both move forward with some clarity.
The Tigers tabled their first offer to Doueihi this week. Coach Michael Maguire has always been a fan of Doueihi and handed him his NRL start when coach of Souths.
Canberra’s Joey Leilua also met with Maguire and Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe at the start of the week.
Leilua and Doueihi were not required to attend their clubs’ TV promotional shoot with Nine this week.
The Tigers have three spots to fill on their 30-man roster – 29 players need to be signed by round one – and have more than enough funds to recruit the Lebanese and Samoan internationals.
Doueihi is seen as a fullback and even a long-time successor at five-eighth for club favourite Benji Marshall, while Leilua would add some size in the centres, a position he is no longer guaranteed in the nation’s capital because of the arrival of Curtis Scott from Melbourne.
Canberra have already paid around $200,000 of Leilua’s $700,000 deal, and are only prepared to throw in an extra $100,000 to seal the Canberra-to-Concord deal.
Maguire spent Thursday watching most of his star players involved in a secret opposed session against Canterbury at Belmore Oval, a pre-season exercise the clubs enjoyed last year. Josh Reynolds missed the blowout at his old stomping ground because of a minor calf strain.
Meanwhile, Raiders players were impacted by the extreme summer weather yet again when forced to hire several cars and make the three-hour trek home from Sydney on Thursday afternoon.
In town for some promotional shoots, several Raiders arrived at Sydney airport, only to find out Canberra airport had been shut down because of the latest bushfires. The players were forced to leave home earlier this month because of the poor air quality and spent a fortnight on the Sunshine Coast training. Their first day back at Raiders HQ on Monday featured hail stones the size of golf balls.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.