Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #138

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for Leigh? Who is the latest in at Widnes? Are two players in jeopardy at St Helens? Find out more in Ray Mour’s gossip column.

Owens set for Widnes return

Jack Owens was in pre-season training for Widnes Vikings when Kieron Purtill’s squad reported back on Monday.

Owens came through the Widnes academy and played 60 Super League games, before moving on to St Helens, Sheffield Eagles and Leigh Centurions. His return, be it on trial or contract, hasn’t yet been confirmed by the club.

Ridyard to follow Duffy to Leigh

In our Off the Record gossip column on August 29, we exclusively revealed that Featherstone Rovers coach John Duffy was set for a switch to Leigh Centurions ahead of the 2019 campaign.

And Love Rugby League looks to be correct. With Kieron Purtill having took over the reins at Widnes Vikings, it looks as though former Scotland assistant coach Duffy will fill the void left at Leigh.

Marytn Ridyard is set for a shock return to his hometown club as well. It is a well-known fact that Duffy is a big fan of Ridyard, having signed him at Rovers. The pair live local to the Leigh Sports Village, so it is believed that they would prefer the shorter trip. Expect to see plenty more of them in the Lancashire town next season.

Women’s game to be boosted

The Women’s Super League is set to grow in number for 2019.

While exact details are unknown, a number of clubs including Warrington Wolves have expressed interest in establishing a women’s team. A number of clubs, who competed in the inaugural Women’s Super League this year, are looking at setting up Under-19s teams and academy pathways.

Warrington to unveil signing

Warrington Wolves will reveal Jake Mamo as a new signing at their kit launch event on Wednesday night.

As reported in Off the Record last week, the Wolves identified the Australian as a utility option to give them cover in the backs, after Huddersfield stalled on offering him a deal. He can play at full-back, on the wing or at centre.

Toronto miss out on huge sponsor

Toronto Wolfpack have missed out on a massive sponsorship deal due to their failure to earn promotion to Super League.

While it’s likely to still be on the table in 12 months, the Wolfpack will also have to shell out on flights and accommodation for opposing teams for another year. They had agreed that should they go up to Super League, that visiting clubs would have to cover their own costs in going to Toronto, in exchange for the Wolfpack surrendering their share of the Sky Sports TV money.

Wales duo in jeopardy at St Helens

There have been whispers going around that Regan Grace and Morgan Knowles were told that their places at St Helens were going to be in jeopardy next season if they were to represent Wales in this autumn’s European Championships.

It is unclear as to whether there is any substance to the speculation at this moment in time, but the pair were absent from John Kear’s Wales squad this autumn.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that clubs have not wanted players to represent their heritage. Several past players have told Love Rugby League over the years that they were pressured by clubs not to play international football.