Revealed: Hasler’s bargain buy to fix Sea Eagles troubles
He is the $225,000 bargain buy who Danny Buderus reckons can help Des Hasler turn Manly into a genuine premiership force.
Danny Levi's career was basically heading towards the scrapheap playing with NRL battlers Newcastle.
But Buderus has backed the former Kiwi Test hooker to now turn his career around with a little sprinkling of Hasler magic dust.
As the NRL's off-season player market circus continues, Levi's switch is expected to be finalised this week.
What's even better for the Sea Eagles is that the deal will be done for an absolute bargain.
The Knights will have to cough up about $150,000 to make the trade happen, with Manly only chipping in about $225,000 to get Levi for the season.
For a crucial position such as dummy half that would present Hasler with a very shrewd purchase and potentially the perfect like-for-like replacement for the gifted Manase Fainu.
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With Hasler struggling to fill the void that is going to be left by Fainu, picking up a hooker of Levi's talent at this stage of the pre-season is a huge boost.
Fainu has been stood down by the NRL pending his court case, while he has also suffered from an infection in his injured shoulder that is going to require more surgery that would wipe him out for the majority of the NRL season even if he had his ban lifted.
At 24 there is no question Levi's best years can be still ahead of him even though he appears to have gone backwards playing under Nathan Brown at Newcastle.
Brown and Levi just didn't see eye-to-eye but Buderus, who has spent a lot of time working with Levi, has no doubt this change will come at the perfect time for all involved.
"Danny has definitely got the talent and the change will be good for him," Buderus said.
"I think Danny will be up for this.
"It's a new challenge and some new voices and faces will be good for him."
Buderus said Levi's arrival could make Manly a genuine top-four contender playing alongside Tom and Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans, while off the back of the go-forward provided by Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake.
"I think it will really help Danny," Buderus added.
"He was like a lot of guys at Newcastle at the time where they had their careers accelerated (because of a lack of experience at the club).
"But Danny has that experience now and he just has to be committed to his fitness (so he can play longer minutes).
"That is the biggest thing with Danny.
"His body shape is starting to change and he will get down there and Des will give him a lot of belief.
"I think that will be a big thing for him.
"He has always been in a team that is building.
"But Manly are pretty stable and they have a lot of go forward that will be good for Danny.
"He will go well."
In other transfer news, Canberra's Joey Leilua is also expected to meet with Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire in the coming days while South Sydney's Adam Doueihi remains on the Tigers' radar.
Leilua is another player whose career is at the crossroads following Curtis Scott's arrival at Canberra.
While Canberra maintain they have the salary cap space to keep Leilua for 2020 he is off contract at the end of the season and now is probably his best chance to secure a new deal while the Tigers have cash to splash.