Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #132

Will Leigh forfeit the Championship Shield final? Who is next in line for the Widnes job? Which Wales international is joining London? Find out in Ray Mour’s gossip column.

Widnes continue coach search

With Francis Cummins’ departure now confirmed, speculation continues over the identity of Widnes’ new coach.

One man who has been linked is former Vikings stand-off, ex-Hull and Wakefield coach Richard Agar, though we understand he is happy in Australia and won’t be making a return to these shores. Widnes have started the process of clearing the decks after relegation, with more backroom staff departures expected shortly.

Cause for concern at Leigh

There’s every chance that the Championship Shield clash between Featherstone and Leigh won’t be going ahead this weekend.

Centurions players reportedly haven’t been paid at the end of September and only those with deals for next season had been making themselves available to play. Leigh are likely to be embroiled in a legal row, and there are still six players from their 2017 squad pushing a tribunal case following their departures after relegation.

Hastings set for Salford stay

Jackson Hastings is close to committing his future to Salford, despite plenty of interest from elsewhere.

The Red Devils have made retaining him and Joey Lussick a priority, and Lussick’s signature was announced earlier this week. The club are still actively looking for a buyer and/or investment having retained their Super League status in The Qualifiers.

Wales star to join London

Wales international Matty Fozard is set to link up with London Broncos for the 2019 season.

Sheffield Eagles announced that the 23-year-old would be leaving the Olympic Legacy Park at the end of this season. Fozard played over 80 games for the Eagles but he is set to move down the capital for 2019 and beyond – whether the Broncos reach Super League or not. He has been capped by Wales eight times.

Wigan have no interest in Walker

Wigan Warriors are not interested in bringing Widnes Vikings hooker Danny Walker to the club for next season, Love Rugby League understands.

The England Academy star has been linked with moves to Warrington Wolves and Wigan for a number of weeks now and we have been told by sources at the Wigan club that they are not interested in signing Walker. The 19-year-old is set to leave relegated Widnes and join hometown club Warrington.

Championship coach merry go round

The end of the season, with the exception of Swinton and either Bradford/Workington, this weekend is likely to start a coaching merry-go-round. A number of out of work coaches are sitting tight waiting to see what comes available if existing coaches move.

The uncertainty at Leigh could see Kieron Purtill move on, while Featherstone coach John Duffy has previously been linked with a move to Leigh and is also a former Widnes player. Halifax coach Richard Marshall is highly rated and has one more year left on his current deal, but may be tempted to a full-time role elsewhere unless they switch to full-time as rumoured.

Dewsbury’s coaching post is vacant following Neil Kelly’s departure. One man who may feature in the merry go-round is outgoing Rochdale coach Alan Kilshaw, who miraculously kept them in the Championship after a lifeline was handed to them by the restructure. He had already announced his decision to leave before then, and decided to go through with it despite the reprieve. Carl Forster has already been announced as his replacement, but Kilshaw is believed to be interested in the Widnes job.

Burgess brothers to be reunited

The four Burgess brothers are set to be reunited in Sydney next year.

Luke, who is the oldest of the four, announced his retirement from rugby league last week after he helped Salford Red Devils retain their Super League status for 2019. Burgess made over 200 first-grade appearances and he will now move back to Sydney to be closer to his young family. It is rumoured that he will get an off-field job with the Rabbitohs.

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