Off the Record: Rugby League Rumour and Gossip #29

Fuming Ford

York City Knights coach James Ford got into a slanging match with rugby union pundit Austen Healey on Twitter recently. Ford kicked it off with a tweet criticising Healey for his views on weight training and rugby. The polarizing former England international hit back, with Healey comparing careers and defending his time on Strictly Come Dancing. The insults and tweets flying thick and fast. Ah the joys of social media.

Kung-fu fighting

It wasn’t only the crowd at the Salford game who got involved in some fisticuffs of late. There were ugly scenes after Dewsbury played Batley in the Championship over Easter, with video of Rams fans fighting doing the rounds. Women and men pushing and shouting after the game, with a fair bit of drink involved. Our source tells is that Dewsbury and Batley fans were also clashing in the stands while the game was on. Not a good look at all.

French Smithy

There’s been plenty of talk about Tony Smith and his future at Warrington, with the coach off contract at the end of 2016. Smith has been linked with the vacant Hull KR job but we can’t see that happening. The Aussie is on a great wicket at the Wire and is backed by the owner Simon Moran generously. The only way we could see Smith leaving is if Warrington won the grand final this year, and that’s a big if, and then he may move to Catalans. We’ve been told he is a big fan of Perpignan and gets on well with boss Christophe Jouffret. If he does want out on the Halliwell Jones Stadium, put your money on the south of France.

Championship clubbing

One our spies tell us a Championship club is apparently under investigation by the RFL for some financial irregularities. The speculation is that they have allegedly taken money out of one affiliated company in a bid to boost player salaries and increase club revenue, so they can lift the size of their salary cap. Details are sketchy right now, but if our informant is correct, it’s more bad news the game doesn’t need.

The new Burgesses

A source of ours from down under has informed us about two young brothers at the Wests Tigers who could be the next pair of English Burgess-style siblings to hit the NRL in the years to come. This talented pair, who are from Bradford, have come through the ranks at the Tigers with one a centre and the other a winger or fullback. They were junior reps with the Sydney club and the wraps on both are high – 2016 shapes as an important season in their development.

Donaldson interest

Hull KR back-rower James Donaldson is off contract at the end of this season and is attracting some interest. We’ve been told the Robins want to keep the ex-Bradford man, who has missed most of this year with injury, but they may struggle with salary cap pressure. Rumour has it that Chris Chester wants to bring his old charge to Wakefield next year, while the 24-year forward old may also want to try his hand in Australia.

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