Off the Record: Rugby League Rumour and Gossip #70

Legal action
The Bradford saga is far from over. We’ve been told that David Thorne, the former Wasps owner who was bidding for the Bulls, is considering legal action about how the whole situation was handled. Thorne is not happy with the actions of the administrators and the RFL during the bidding process. He has said so publicly, and may now even head to the courts. Stay tuned.

Johnson to cross codes?
Rumours in the Land of the Long White Cloud are gathering that Shaun Johnson is considering a move to English rugby union. Johnson would be getting a huge bump in salary if he goes to the 15-man code in the UK, but we really hope this is wide of the mark. Rugby League cannot afford to lose such a world-class talent as the Kiwi halfback.

More Bulls depart
Speculation is growing that Lachlan Burr is headed to Leigh for the new season. Burr joined Bradford from Gold Coast at the end of 2016 but did not play a game for the Bulls before liquidation. There’s also talk that Ben Kavanagh is set to join Halifax. Kavanagh, like Burr, is a free agent and we hear Fax are keen on bringing the prop to The Shay.

NRL update
The silly season is still going strong down under. Lots of movement at the Newcastle Knights, with a move to Todd Carney being considered now that Jarrod Mullen will be out of action with his steriod ban looming. Korbin Sims is also set to depart the Hunter, with Brisbane a likely destination. And James Segeyaro is moving closer to signing terms with Cronulla.

More on Bradford, and the grapevine is now bursting with names for the next Bradford coach. We heard from a number of sources on the weekend that Henry Paul was a strong candidate to replace Rohan Smith. But he doesn’t really meet the new owners’ mantra of a “proven and experienced coach” that spelled out yesterday. Two candidates that do and that have come to our attention are Ivan Cleary and Brian McClennan. Both are experienced coaches with a good pedigree, and are also currently unattached. Cleary has Kiwi links having had a success tenure at the Warriors, while McClennan is a New Zealander who also knows the UK well after his time with Leeds Rhinos. Another coach being linked is Daniel Anderson, jobless after he left Parramatta but with a solid background after his time at St Helens.

Bradford 2017
Our spies tell is that the new Bradford club is set for cuts and it certainly won’t be operating on the same kind of large budget it did last season under Marc Green. There is talk that they will be operating on a playing budget of around £300,000 to £400,000 for 2017. The new owners are apparently not flush with a lot of cash and won’t be spending big, at least not this year. Gary Tasker and Stuart Duffy are believed to be the ones given the role of running the club, while Andrew Chalmers and Graham Lowe will continue to live in New Zealand.

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