It’s been revelations galore at the RFL this month after Nigel Wood’s departure. Roger Draper swiftly followed, we then had Ralph Rimmer’s comments about the structure, Eddie Hearn throwing his hat in to the ring and now news on a half a million pound pay-off for Wood. We’re apparently no closer to a successor for Wood, with no plans to go headhunting for a candidate. That leaves Rimmer in pole position for the job. Gary Hetherington isn’t interested, and Super League clubs may fancy Rimmer as the best man to enable them to keep an element of power at the top of the game.
The NRL is circling
While we all fight amongst ourselves about RFL leaders, reserve grade and the structure, the NRL is moving forward and an ever-increasing threat to the quality of Super League. Wigan’s John Bateman is the latest to be linked with a move, and he is looking at options Down Under for 2019. Hull duo Albert Kelly and Carlos Tuimavave are both heavily linked with departures at the end of this year too as the NRL’s minimum wage and far superior salary cap give far better prospects for players. Stopping the drain of quality players has to return to the agenda – and fast.
The injury to Manu Vatuvei could hardly have happened at a worse time for Salford, especially as it leaves them without one of their biggest earners in a time where they are strapped for cash. A return Down Under, with a pay-out, was an early rumoured solution however there is still hope the injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
Speaking of Salford, coach Ian Watson was fuming with the transfer talk linking Robert Lui to Hull KR. Backed by CEO Ian Blease, the Red Devils rejected the bid as a clear message that they won’t just give up their star players, having already lost Ben Murdoch-Masila this close season. Whether they’ll be able to show the same resolve should Wigan come in with a bid for Junior Sa’u, as rumoured, remains to be seen.
Toronto Wolfpack muscling in on opportunities in Manchester, and specifically at their Platt Lane base, has left a few neighbours disgruntled. With several clubs trying to develop in the area, planned funding for development and sharing of facilities has now fallen through following the arrival of the Wolfpack. One of those clubs, Manchester Rangers, are still hoping to launch a bid to join the professional ranks at some point, but progress over rugby league development in the area has stalled.
What a Minga
Papua New Guinean winger Kuni Minga finds himself in limbo ahead of the new season. Toulouse gave up on Minga over the off-season after feeling he hadn’t responded to what coach Sylvain Houles called special treatment. Featherstone tried to sign him but were denied by visa issues, which effectively rules Minga out of a move to the UK. Minga was named in the France squad for the World Cup but withdrew with injury. He qualifies for France through the residency rule but may now never turn out for les Tricolores, especially if he is forced Down Under to continue his career.