Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #157

What is the latest on the futures of George Williams and Wellington Albert? Which NRL forward has been linked with a move to Super League? Find out in Ray Mour’s rumour column.

Williams latest

Wigan Warriors half-back George Williams has signed a three-year contract with NRL side Canberra Raiders from the 2020 season.

The deal has been signed and sealed, but the Raiders are holding off announcing it just yet. This has been one of them ‘worst kept secrets in rugby league’ stories, but Canberra are the side that do not want to announce the transfer just yet, with the NRL season having only recently kicked off. Williams, who has 10 caps for England, is Wigan’s only marquee player so does that open the door for the Warriors to sign Penrith Panthers star James Maloney on a big-money deal?

Albert future

Wellington Albert will sign a two-year deal at Leeds, after joining them on a month’s trial recently.

As first revealed by Love Rugby League, the Papua New Guinea international has been training with the Rhinos and it was confirmed by the club last week. He has done enough to earn a deal with the club, who only named an 18-man squad for this week’s game against Hull KR as they wait for his registration to be completed.

NRL forward linked with Super League

Manly Sea Eagles are in danger of losing cult hero forward Joel Thompson to England next season, reports The Mole for Wide World Of Sports.

Thompson, 30, has made over 200 appearances in the NRL for the Raiders, Dragons and Sea Eagles.

Several UK clubs have expressed an interest in Thompson, according to The Mole. He could potentially get a three or four-year deal in England, which is longer than he could get in the NRL.

Edwards wanted Hunwicks at Wigan

We are no further along with the Shaun Edwards saga at Wigan Warriors.

The club have given Edwards ‘time to think’ about his future and nothing has been announced or discussed since. However, Edwards wanted Catalans Dragons’ head of performance, Richard Hunwicks, with him at the club in 2020.

Hunwicks is out of contract with the Dragons this year and Edwards thought Wigan would appoint the highly regarded Hunwicks, but they have not followed it up. This could be one of the reasons why Edwards is pondering his future, with Wasps and England rugby union also wanting him to join their coaching staff.

Wakefield in no rush to sign 

Wakefield Trinity are not desperate to bring in an outside-back as a replacement for Tom Johnstone.

The England international suffered a season-ending ACL injury earlier this season and there have been reports that Trinity would look to bring in a replacement, with former winger Mason Caton-Brown being linked with a return to the club.

Although Trinity coach Chris Chester is browsing the market for players to bring in, he is in no rush to sign someone just for the sake of it. It would have to be a good fit for both parties.

Hamlin wanted Australia return

Wigan Warriors forward Gabe Hamlin has been provisionally suspended following a UK anti-doping violation.

The 22-year-old joined the Warriors ahead of last season from South Sydney Rabbitohs and had made seven appearances for Adrian Lam’s side this year.

Hamlin has caught a flight back to Australia since the news broke, with the club supporting his decision. The Australian’s contract with Wigan expired at the end of this season and he wanted a move back home at the end of 2019. It looks highly unlikely that he’ll play for Wigan again.