Melbourne Storm, Roosters, Wests Tigers, Loan System, David Nofoaluma, Oliver Gildart, Darren Lockyer, Phil Gould

The scramble for clubs to squeeze rival players into their squads ahead of the transfer deadline to boost their title hopes has angered Darren Lockyer, leaving the rugby league legend angered by ‘the strange feeling’.

Lockyer expressed his disappointment at season-ending blows from some clubs before the August 1 deadline, after the Wests Tigers allowed David Nofoaluma to join the Storm for the rest of the season and Oliver Gildart to wear the colors of the Roosters.

Lockyer also asked if Melbourne’s offer for Canterbury speedster Josh Addo-Carr, which was worthless, was “just dinkum”.

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The rush by clubs to sign rival players before the transfer deadline to bolster their title hopes has angered Darren Lockyer. (Melbourne Storm)

“I don’t know if I like the optics,” Lockyer said on Nine’s 100% Footy.

“I remember last year and Tevita (Pangai Junior), who left the Broncos. He went to Penrith and he didn’t play in the Grand Finals because he got injured. You watch him in a Broncos jersey, comes and plays four games and then moves on to a series of finals.

“The optics to me don’t look great.”

Melbourne were desperate to land a player like Nofoaluma because their outside backs had been ravaged by injuries, with Reimis Smith, George Jennings and Xavier Coates all having been hit.

Gildart bolsters the Roosters’ stocks after outside back Billy Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Phil Gould backed Lockyer by also condemning the exploitation of the revised transfer deadline, which was pushed back from June 30 to August 1 at the start of the 2021 season.

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“You come in August, you come in at the end of July and the top four teams start feeding off the bottom four teams saying, ‘Your season is over. Give us your best players and we can secure our jobs,” Gould said on 100% Footy.

“It’s not what it should be, that’s not why.

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“June 30 (deadline) was moved due to COVID, as players on loan were important.

“We had to fill the Warriors squad, (the) Bulldogs ran out of players because they were up there (in Queensland) in isolation.

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“There was no junior league football, there was no reserve football… we were trying to give everyone a game of football, we were trying to keep the clubs safe, there was no there was no depth to pass (the players) and develop.

“That was what it was for – it was a loan system for COVID, not for the top four teams to feed off the ones they want to improve their premiership teams.”

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