Issac Luke was ready to ink a deal with Parramatta. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty
Issac Luke was ready to ink a deal with Parramatta. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty

How ‘dirty’ NRL club missed out on Dragon Luke

ISSAC Luke has revealed how close he came to joining Parramatta before they "pulled the pin" on the former Kiwi Test hooker.

At the start of last season, Luke, 32, was told by his former club the Warriors that he was allowed to leave if he was able to secure a contract elsewhere beyond 2019.

 

The Eels spoke with Luke's management last February about the veteran joining the blue and golds where he could work in tandem with promising hooker Reed Mahoney.

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Luke was also linked to a switch to Manly and the Wests Tigers.

However negotiations fell away with the Eels despite Luke admitting he was eager to link with the western Sydney club.

"The thing is Saints never went away, the others (clubs) did,'' Luke said.

"With Parra, they were originally keen and then they missed out because I ended up staying this year with the Warriors, so they were pretty dirty about it.

"I don't know why they were (dirty), I guess it was down to communication.

"I would've gone, but they were the ones that pulled the pin on me."

The Eels were reportedly keen to have Luke mentor young rake Reed Mahoney. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Chambers
The Eels were reportedly keen to have Luke mentor young rake Reed Mahoney. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Chambers

"It's rugby league, I have no hard feelings. I'm here now and it's been good, the last month.

"Prior to that was pretty depressing, in the sense of not knowing where we (he and his young family) were going.

"But I'm here now and I couldn't be happier.''

Just a fortnight into his stint at the Dragons, much has already been made of Luke's relationship with fellow dummy-half Cameron McInnes, who have been close since first meeting at South Sydney in 2014.

The former co-captain of the New Zealand Test team said he is willing to wind back the clock and mentor McInnes despite the very likelihood he'll act as the back-up to the 25-year-old and likely Saints captain.

"We're pretty tight,'' Luke said. "We had a pretty small group at Souths, it was Api (Korisaou), Aaron Gray, me, Cam and Dylan Walker.

Cam McInnes helped lure Luke to the Dragons. Picture: AAP/Dan Himbrechts
Cam McInnes helped lure Luke to the Dragons. Picture: AAP/Dan Himbrechts

"It wasn't a case of me wanting to hang out with them because they make me feel young, it was more of a case that they wouldn't speak to the older fellas.

"Cam would just sit and look at the older boys. I asked him, 'do you want me to introduce you.' And he was like, 'No, no, no'.

"He was just shy. Because GI (Greg Inglis) and Sam (Burgess), Sutto (John Sutton), were who they were, legends of the game... I think he (McInnes) was just in awe.

"But I told him, 'they're just one of us, it's all good.'

"And with Cam because he was a hooker, I had to invest some time into him and help him understand what our role really is.

"It was the same with Api. I hadn't seen them play yet, but I had to make sure that they knew what the club wanted from them.

"They've always kept me on my toes, but I've never made them look up to me, we're just 'mates.'

"Now I'm going to play with my younger brother (McInnes), that's going to be my captain.

"And he's done well over the years, he's matured and grown on and off the field.

"There's still a lot I think I can help him with.''

News Corp Australia


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