Explaining why Leeds Rhinos were able to announce Ryan Hall deal before May 1 deadline

Aaron Bower
Ryan Hall Hull KR Alamy

Ryan Hall in action for Hull KR in 2024

Ryan Hall will return to Headingley in 2025 to finish his career where it began, after agreeing a one-year deal with Leeds Rhinos.

However, the timing of the deal has provoked some interesting debate – mainly because it has been confirmed by the Rhinos almost two weeks before the May 1 deadline which allows clubs to speak with out-of-contract players.

According to the Rugby Football League’s guidelines, clubs cannot sign off on deals with players from other clubs for 2025 before this deadline – meaning that questions were inevitably raised about why Leeds were able to do so publicly.

However, Love Rugby League has been told that there are exceptions to this ruling that allows clubs to announce deals early – and the Hall situation is a prime example.

Hall had already been informed by Hull KR that a deal beyond this year would not be materialising – which is perhaps no surprise, given how rumours have heavily linked them with a move for England winger Tom Davies next year.

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That alerted Leeds to Hall’s availability, with the winger himself coming in as a possible replacement for David Fusitu’a, whose own contract is up and looks unlikely to be renewed, given the injury issues he has had since coming to Super League.

The key is that Hull KR gave Leeds permission to hold talks with Hall, as well as giving them the green light to announce the signature of the winger, given how he had been told he had no future beyond this year at Craven Park.

When the transfer is agreed and accepted by all parties, there are no restrictions on it being announced at any time.

However, the credibility of the May 1 deadline has already been brought under scrutiny given how it has emerged a number of top players have all-but agreed deals elsewhere for 2025 well in advance of that deadline.

Catalans winger Tom Johnstone is believed to be heading back to Wakefield along with his Dragons team-mate, Mike McMeeken. Davies is set to join Hull KR, Tommy Makinson is rumoured to be going in the opposite direction to the south of France – with more deals also being finalised before the deadline.

It has led some in the game to question whether or not the deadline should be removed – but in the example of Hall’s transfer, there was a valid reason why Leeds were able to announce it in advance of May 1.

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