George King future, Odsal Stadium latest, Wakefield signings: Ask Love Rugby League

Aaron Bower

Welcome back to our regular Q&A, Ask Love Rugby League, where we take reader questions on a number of issues in the game.

It could be recruitment, it could be off-field matters – no topic is off-limits. As is often the case, we’ve fielded your questions on Twitter/X and have selected the best to try and provide you with the answers.

So without further ado, let’s get going – and first up, it’s a question on recruitment..

As revealed this week by Love Rugby League, King has been offered to Super League clubs by his management: not, I’m told, by Hull Kingston Rovers themselves.

With the May 1 deadline about to pass, clubs are going to get cracking with their 2025 recruitment imminently, and King is reportedly open to a move away from Rovers. There’s been some speculation that he wants a move closer to home, but he is still under contract until 2025.

The sense I have is that if Rovers can source a replacement, they’ll let King go – but not this season. It’s much more likely something happens in 2025.

There are a number of bids, believe it or not. I’m told that includes businesses in and around Bradford, the Bulls themselves and even a suggestion that the stock car company who operate out of Odsal are interested, too.

The kicker for me, from speaking to a plethora of people in the city, is why the Bulls would even want it. As I reported earlier this month, the running costs are through the roof, which is why the RFL are so keen to get rid. If I were Tony Sutton, I’d sell it for £1, to be honest. Dubbing a bid sub-optimal depends on what your valuation is!

He would instantly save the governing body around £200,000 in upkeep costs. Granted, the game loses the £1.2million it spent on the lease, but that wasn’t on Tony Sutton’s watch. He’s hardly responsible. He can, however, cut it from the books. Would the Bulls really want to inherit those costs? The cynic in me suggests they’d like to keep the arrangement as it is.

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I’m actually minded to agree with Jon Wilkin earlier this week. This feels like – or it should be – the start of a long-term cycle at Hull FC. With that in mind, they need to entrust the rebuild to a coach who is going to be around for some time and is at the beginning of their career.

That almost feels like it rules out your typical Australian assistant coach by default. Their career paths almost certainly entail a short stint in England before returning Down Under: and Hull need a complete overhaul, where success probably isn’t likely in the next year or two. If he’d take it: Lee Briers. But convincing him to swap Brisbane for Hull is a tough sell!

Funny this, one player that had been mooted to me some weeks ago – but Trinity played it down when I asked them – was Hull forward Jack Brown. With quota players going to be near impossible to sign given how many they’re going to have to cut if they go up, the British market is all Wakefield have got to shop in for 2025, you’d wager.

Someone like Brown, a forward with Super League experience and still some way off his peak, would be exactly the kind of player that would suit them well. But again, they played it down when I asked if they were interested!

Nothing in terms of incomings, certainly. Leeds are at cap, for a start – though they’re clearly stretched with injuries at present. Smith isn’t under any imminent danger, either.

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It’s been discussed internally on an almost constant basis. Obviously, Derek Beaumont amplified it again this week by mentioning it in a Q&A of his own. I’d wager that at an upcoming regulatory meeting – I gather there’s one in the coming weeks – it will be near the top of the agenda and could get rubber-stamped for 2025.

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