Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #129

Ray Mour

Will Tony Smith make a return to Super League? Who is heading to Hull FC? Who is departing Widnes? Find out more in this week’s rumour mill.

Tony Smith heading to Widnes

Tony Smith is believed to be the frontrunner for the Widnes job, even when their likely relegation to the Championship is confirmed.

The former Leeds, Warrington and Huddersfield boss has been out of work for 12 months and publicly criticised the state of the game and how he wanted a break. He has been working with Premier League football clubs, but sources say he has spoken to Vikings officials about possibly joining the club.

Hull having revamp

Following Adam Pearson’s reaction to Hull’s hammering at Warrington, players from all over are being linked with a move to the KCOM Stadium.

Gareth Hock, Harrison Hansen and Anthony Gelling are names being floated around currently, while there may be players going out the exit door too.

Structure row may rumble on

There are concerns that Friday’s EGM may not result in a solution to the ongoing structure farce, which is already affecting teams for 2019.

Those left in limbo by rumoured changes are unable to start their recruitment for next year, as they can’t be sure what league they’ll be in or how many games they’ll have, meaning budgets and attracting players is difficult. It’s one of the biggest problems with the current set-up and one that certain clubs will be anxious to resolve.

Wigan battling for Hastings

Wigan Warriors are the latest club to be linked with Salford Red Devils star Jackson Hastings for the 2019 season.

The 22-year-old has been a shining light for Ian Watson’s side since arriving ahead of The Qualifiers from Manly Sea Eagles. He has already put in a couple of man of the match performances and is attracting plenty of interest in Super League. Salford, Leeds Rhinos, Hull FC and Wigan have all been said to be chasing his signature for next season.

Walker to leave Widnes

There is likely to be a lot of movement at Widnes over the next few weeks, with a large number of player exits expected if they drop out of Super League.

They will be desperate to keep hold of some of their young talent, but face a losing battle to keep hooker Danny Walker, who is attracting serious interest from hometown club Warrington, who had a bid for him rejected earlier in the year. Relegation means the Wolves may be able to pick him up for a fraction of what they’ve previously offered.

Ex-Leigh and Hull KR target set for NRL stay

Manly Sea Eagles are set to sign ex-Leigh Centurions and Hull Kingston Rovers target Brendan Elliot for next season, along with St George Illawarra Dragons centre Reuben Garrick.

The Sea Eagles are on the lookout for outside-backs, with Akuila Uate expected to join Huddersfield Giants and Jonathan Wright retiring. Elliot, 24, was set to join Leigh ahead of The Qualifiers but the move fell through.