Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #127

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Who wants the Leigh job? Where is Matty Smith off to? Who is selling their League 1 licence? Find out more in this week’s gossip column.

Duffy wants Leigh job

Featherstone Rovers coach John Duffy is believed to want the coaching role at Leigh Centurions, sources close to the club have told Love Rugby League.

It is unclear whether Leigh’s current coach Kieron Purtill will stay at the club next year, with the future of the club unclear. Duffy has apparently notified the Centurions that he would be open to taking on the role, with Featherstone looking to cut costs for the foreseeable future.

Smith to Catalans done deal

It has been revealed by a team-mate that St Helens half-back Matty Smith will move to Catalans Dragons at the end of the season.

While being a pundit for the BBC at the Challenge Cup final, Jon Wilkin let it casually slip that Smith will be going to the French club for next season. Smith, 31, has found chances limited at Saints this season, making just seven Super League appearances.

Place in League One for sale

There has, as yet, been no movement with regards to the Bristol team that was announced to be joining League One for 2019, as a result of the demise of Oxford and Gloucestershire.

The old clubs still hold their licenses to play in that league, and have been offering them out to potential interested parties. Whether anyone opts to buy them given the continuing uncertainty over the structure remains to be seen.

Toulouse eye ex-Leigh forward

Toulouse Olympique are linked with former Leigh Centurions front-rower Paterika Vaivai for next season.

The 26-year-old was a regular for the Centurions before suffering a season-ending injury over the Easter period. He was released by the Championship outfit in July and returned home. It is believed that Vaivai, who has made 16 NRL appearances, will move to Toulouse for next year and beyond.

Toronto’s second team in Manchester

Having a successful team in Manchester appears to be next on the radar, with the RFL already having moved a lot of its operations to MediaCity, a permanent move to the Etihad campus is on the horizon.

Manchester Rangers made some noise about going semi-pro a few years back, and play at the excellent facilities next to the Etihad Stadium, but the presence of Toronto Wolfpack on their doorstep has made it difficult for them to establish themselves. It is believed that the Wolfpack, or at least those connected to the Wolfpack, are interested in trying to establish a team in Manchester, though it could rely on the previously discussed and dismissed co-operation of Swinton, Rochdale and Oldham. The Wolfpack are aggressively recruiting sales agents to spread the word about them in commercial circles in the UK.

Hull KR expected to sign Hauraki

Hull Kingston Rovers are expected to bring in veteran forward Weller Hauraki for next season.

The former New Zealand Maori representative will be a free agent at the end of the season. He is currently on loan at Widnes Vikings from Salford Red Devils but it is being reported that he has signed a deal with the Rovers for next season.

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