Off the Record: Rugby League Rumour and Gossip #73

Silly boy
Who was the Super League player who injured himself in bizarre circumstances in pre-season? This player was apparently mucking around while shopping and hurt himself after jumping into a trolley. The injury wasn’t too serious, but still ranks high on the idiot scale. His club has done well to keep it under wraps.

Aussie leaning
Kayln Ponga is one the stars in waiting in the NRL, the $3.6 million man at just 18 who the Knights have snared from the Cowboys from 2018. Ponga has mixed heritage – he was born in Western Australia to a Maori father, grew up in north Queensland until the age of eight when he moved to Palmerston North. Ponga spent five years in New Zealand before he and his family returned to live in Queensland. The youngster, likened to Benji Marshall, is eligible to play for both the Kiwis and Kangaroos. We hear both countries want him, badly, but the young gun is leaning towards committing to the green and gold. Would certainly be a coup for Mal Meninga’s men.

Punch on
We hear a woman was at the heart of a recent heated moment in a pre-season game in the UK that saw two players come to blows. A source tells us that the partner of one player had been fraternising with a player from another team, hence the bad blood. The moment of madness was a matter of the heart, but it still didn’t stop the player getting a fair suspension.

Big deal
Last month Toronto announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Canadian airline AirTransat. The deal was billed a one of the biggest ever a rugby league club in the northern hemisphere has signed. We’ve learned exactly how much the contract is worth – believed to be £500,000 in total for the Wolfpack. That’s impressive stuff.

Bulls and Vickers
Martin Vickers, the former Salford CEO and Swinton executive, has been helping out with Toronto’s UK operation. But that’s not all he’s been up to, we’ve been told, as he is also working for the new Bradford Bulls in an off-field capacity. The Bulls are also drawing on the help of a former NRL heavy-hitter to get their commercial operations started back up.

Back to the future
The family ties are strong at the Manly Sea Eagles. There are some interesting surnames getting around the club’s Under-18s and Under-16s teams this year. The SG Ball side are captained by halfback Cooper Johns, son of former Newcastle, Wigan and Cronulla five-eighth Matty Johns. The team also features Freddy Lussick, younger brother of Manly first-grader Darcy. The Harold Matthews side features Albert Hopoate at fullback and Ben Trobjevic in the back-rower. Albert is the younger brother of Bulldogs star William, and son of Jormer winger John, while Ben is the younger brother of current Sea Eagles stars Jake and Tom.

1 Comment

  1. Anyone know who will be Wigan’s goal kicker this season? Morgan Escare maybe…..but does he justify his place in the side?

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