Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #96

With the season nearing, what’s happening in the world of rugby league?

On the same Page?
Papua New Guinea forward Luke Page is set for Super League – but with who, remains a mystery. He was one of a list of six players that the Kumuls confirmed have penned deals in the competition, along with David Mead, Paul Aiton, Garry Lo and Widnes pair Wellington and Stanton Albert. Page has been heavily linked with Hull KR in the past but nothing has ever been announced regarding his future. The Brisbane-born prop, who has made a solitary NRL appearance for St George-Illawarra, is nicknamed “The White Kumul”.

Kelly playing for NRL deal?
It’s a fact of the current set-up of rugby league that the top Super League players are likely to have one eye on earning a deal in the NRL. Hull’s Albert Kelly seems to be one of those players, with his comments in League Express hinting that he wants to do enough to put himself in to the shop window. Fans of the Airlie Birds may not mind that, as long as he can guide them to that elusive Super League title in 2018.

Super League to 14?
The talk in the papers this week was that Super League clubs are discussing an increase to 14 clubs, which would likely see Toronto and Toulouse join the party. Whatever it is happening, time is certainly running out to get things confirmed and announced, as promised, prior to the start of the 2018 season.

Tight lipped Toulouse
It’s been a busy few weeks off the field for Toulouse. They have overseen the start of their stadium renovations, including the demolition of their main stand; pulled out of the Challenge Cup; become part of Magic Weekend and now moved their Championship home game with Leigh just 75km up the road to Albi. Apparently, the Magic Weekend idea was sprung on them, much to the disappointment of a few club officials and sponsors who had already started looking at a trip to Canada. Their decision not to play in the Challenge Cup was a financial and logistical one – as non-member clubs of the RFL, the non-UK teams are merely invited and not obliged to take part in the competition each season.

Eden to stay at Castleford
Super League’s top try scorer in 2017, Greg Eden, is set to commit his long-term future to Castleford. The Tigers have already started tying down a number of their stars, with hooker Paul McShane signing a five-year deal recently. Eden may well find more game time at full back in 2018, potentially impacting on his try prolificacy, due to the absence of Zak Hardaker.

Unravelling Salford
While the steps to a brighter future have apparently been opened by Salford, there still seems to be a bit of unravelling to do regarding its past ownership. The main face of the new holding company, Salford RD Holdings, is Andrew Rosler – who is now listed as the sole director of Salford City Reds (2013) limited, whose accounts are now almost a year overdue. Marwan Koukash is down as having resigned on January 8. Rosler, who is an insolvency practioner and owns Ideal Debt Solutions, has encouragingly been transparent and honest in his recent interviews following the takeover, which will come as music to the ears of the Salford fans.