Kaufusi brothers set to reunite at Storm
HAVING taken boom back-rower Felise Kaufusi to the brink of Origin selection, Craig Bellamy is set to poach his younger brother Patrick from the Cowboys.
At 23, the youngest of the three Kaufusi brothers is poised to take up a two-year, $100,000-a-season deal with the Storm in 2018 and add front-row depth ahead of Jordan McLean's move in the opposite direction to Townsville.
"Felise's younger brother, he's agreed to terms to come here next year," Bellamy said on Friday.
"Basically we have had the three of them. Antonio was here when I started so three of the brothers have all played for Storm and the Cowboys.
"He's coming down next year. Felise's been wonderful this year so hopefully Patrick can have the same impact"
The contract bringing Kaufusi, who hasn't played since round nine due to a season-ending foot injury, is yet to clear the 10-day cooling off period, but will be registered by the NRL in the next fortnight.
Kaufusi has played 22 games for North Queensland since debuting midway through 2015, and is set to follow the same career path as older siblings Felise and Antonio, who rose to Queensland and Kangaroos honours under Bellamy a decade ago.
The news follows Thursday's retention of star speedsters Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr, completing a round dozen of Storm players now signed up through 2020 or beyond.
The club officially announced the extensions of Vunivalu (until the end of 2020) and Addo-Carr (2021) on Thursday, with both players understood to have earned healthy salary upgrades in the process.
Both wingers have enjoyed superb seasons in purple, with Vunivalu's 22 tries putting him in line for the NRL's top tryscorer honours for the second year running.
One more try in their final regular season game will take him past injured Rabbitoh Alex Johnston, while Addo-Carr's 19 four-pointers place him fourth across the competition behind Canberra's Jordan Rapana (20).
While 2017 heralds the end of one era at Melbourne with Kevin Proctor (Titans) already gone, Tohu Harris (Warriors) and McLean to follow and Cooper Cronk doing likewise if he doesn't retire, it has also seen millions outlaid in the name of a particular rosy future in the southern capital.
Craig Bellamy's side hasn't missed a beat en route to successive minor premierships and is the shortest-priced premiership favourite in a decade.
And along the way this season Addo-Carr, skipper-in-waiting Jesse Bromwich (one year as a player option), Dale Finucane and future stars Brodie Croft and Brandon Smith have all been locked down until the end of 2021.
In the same period Vunivalu, Kenny Bromwich, Will Chambers, Cheyse Blair and Jahrome Hughes have re-signed until 2020, and recent representative rookies Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Cameron Munster (2019) aren't going anywhere any time soon either.