Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #147

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Which St Helens forward has joined Leigh? What is the latest on Widnes’ future? Who are Salford being linked with? Find out in the gossip column.

Please note: This gossip column was published on Wednesday, January 23.

St Helens forward joins Leigh

St Helens front-rower Luke Douglas has joined Leigh Centurions on a one-month loan deal.

This week, it has been announced that the two clubs will be dual-registration partners in 2019. The clubs have a strong relationship with each other and with the Centurions finding themselves short in the pack ahead of the Championship season, Douglas is set to bolster John Duffy’s pack for a month. Douglas made 32 appearances in all competitions for Saints last season and has been capped 10 times for Scotland.

Leigh fans can also expect to see Joe Batchelor, Jack Ashworth, Matty Costello, James Bentley and Jack Welsby on dual-registration this year.

THIS STORY HAS NOW BEEN CONFIRMED.

Salford linked with Championship half-back

Salford Red Devils have been rumoured with a move for Toronto Wolfpack half-back Ryan Brierley.

The 26-year-old fell out of favour under Paul Rowley at the Wolfpack last season, with Blake Wallace coming into the side and impressing. Brian McDermott has, of course, replaced Rowley at the Wolfpack ahead of this season but with half-back Joe Mellor coming into the club, Brierley’s game time is set to be limited again. The Red Devils have been rumoured with a move for the ex-Leigh Centurions man.

Million Pound Game remains

The Championship Grand Final is set to be known as the Million Pound Game and will be played a neutral venue to be announced next month.

The traditional Championship Grand Finals day was scrapped due to the change in format for the Super 8s, but it will return in some form this season after a top five play-off format returned to the Championship.

Widnes’ administration worries eased

Widnes remain calm about the off-field hysteria that has been whipped up by interested parties.

Existing shareholders have agreed to write off their loans to help with a sale, and the club remains in discussions with some interested parties. Kieron Purtill and the playing squad have not been distracted by the speculation and are focused on the new season where they are confident of doing well.

Burgess rejects offer so he can stay with Souths

England international George Burgess has turned down an offer from Parramatta Eels and will stay at South Sydney Rabbitohs until at least the end of the year.

The 26-year-old had attracted interest from the Eels and was offered a multi-year deal with the club, according to reports Down Under. Burgess’ current deal with the Rabbitohs expires at the end of the season but is backing himself to earn a new contract under Wayne Bennett.

Forster registration all cleared up

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been posts suggesting that Rochdale Hornets coach Carl Forster was having problems with his player registration.

Some tweets claimed that ‘Whitehaven were messing around with his player registration’ but that has been sorted now and Forster’s registration has been given the all clear ahead of the new Championship season. Forster will be player-coach at Rochdale this year, as he was at Haven last term.