Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

NRL: Player swap a smart play for Warriors

Shaun Lane in action for the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty
Shaun Lane in action for the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty

The signing of Shaun Lane from the Bulldogs could prove to be extremely significant for the Warriors.

Lane's swap with Raymond Faitala-Mariner, which was confirmed today, won't attract the hoopla and hype associated with recent NRL deals, especially the big two of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke last year and Ryan Hoffman in 2014.

There is also, inevitably, some doubt. The Bulldogs don't make many recruitment blunders, and why would a coach as savvy as Des Hasler be willing to dispense with Lane's services?

But it could be a smart play.

Lane offers a point of difference. He's big (1.98m and 115kg) and with an abrasive edge to his game. He won't be able to play 80 minutes like Hoffman, Simon Mannering or Bodene Thompson - the Warriors' main second-row options - but has a pronounced physical impact.

But, just as importantly, the 21-year-old comes with something to prove. No matter how the deal is couched, it will hurt that he was rejected by the Bulldogs after coming through their NYC ranks and being named their NRL Rookie of the Year last season.

Whatever happened with Hasler, which has seen Lane not play a single minute of first grade this year, he should be desperate to make his name in Auckland, to prove he has what it takes.

That scenario has worked before at Mt Smart, most notably with James Maloney, but the likes of Lewis Brown, John Carlaw and Robbie Mears also come to mind.

"I really enjoyed my time at the Bulldogs but it wasn't working out this year," said Lane, who will play reserve grade for the Warriors this weekend. "That's football. The opportunity came up to join the Warriors. It's all happened really quickly but I couldn't be happier."

Faitala-Mariner is a player of undoubted promise but his game was probably too similar to others at the club and fits the Bulldogs' needs more closely than the Warriors'.

- NZ Herald

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