Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #160

Ray Mour

What is the latest on Ryan Brierley’s future? Which England international is on the radar of Canterbury Bulldogs? Who will replace Eddie Hemmings? Find out in the rumour and gossip column. 

Brierley to leave Toronto imminently

Toronto Wolfpack flew out to Canada on Tuesday ahead of their upcoming home games against Swinton Lions and Bradford Bulls.

However, there was one omission who didn’t fly – Ryan Brierley. The Scotland international does not feature in the future plans of Toronto coach Brian McDermott and is set to leave the Wolfpack within the next week or two. Bradford were interested in Brierley but his wages were too high for the Championship club. Leigh Centurions and Salford Red Devils have also been linked with him, but the latter now looks to be out of the question, with them having recently used the rest of their budget to bring in centre Krisnan Inu. It’s believed Brierley would prefer to stay full-time.

Lam wants Wigan job permanently

Adrian Lam has admitted for the first time that he would like to stay on as Wigan Warriors head coach beyond this season, report Wigan Today.

The Papua New Guinean has said he would consider his future after the busy Easter weekend, and he has now revealed that he would like to stay in the job in 2020 following Shaun Edwards’ U-turn. When asked whether he would like to stay, Lam told Wigan Today: “I think so. I’m enjoying working with the players in this group.”

Hemmings replacement confirmed

Eddie Hemmings hung up his microphone after the Good Friday derby between Wigan Warriors and St Helens.

His voice will be remembered fondly after calling rugby league matches for almost 30 years on Sky Sports. A lot of people have asked the question, “Who will replace him?” and we can say that Bill Arthur will be the man to fill the boots of Hemmings. Arthur will be Sky’s main commentator for the rest of 2019, with Brian Carney continuing in his role as main presenter.

Barba finds new club

The current Steve Prescott Man of Steel, Ben Barba, has found a new club but it is not in rugby league.

Barba, who was sacked by North Queensland Cowboys in the off-season following an altercation with his partner outside a Townsville casino, has joined Queensland-based football club Mackay Rangers. He has played two games as a striker for the Rangers so far.

Workington begin coach search

It came as as a surprise to everyone on Tuesday when Workington announced that they had sacked head coach Leon Pryce just six games into the League 1 campaign.

Town came very close to achieving promotion to the Championship under Pryce last season, but they lost to Swinton Lions in a revamped play-off final. Ollie Wilkes has been put in temporary charge while Town search for a new head coach.

Does this pave the way for Chris Thorman to return to coaching in rugby league? The former Huddersfield Giants assistant coach has this week been cleared to return to the sport after his suspension was lifted by the Rugby Football League. He faced two assault charges on a former partner, which he was cleared of back in January. He is free to return to the game and managing Town could be the right move for both parties.

Canterbury chasing England star

Canterbury Bulldogs are set to chase St Helens front-rower Luke Thompson, according to rugby league’s trusty rodent, The Mole.

The Bulldogs are eager to bolster their forward pack and they have identified Thompson, who has already played over 130 games for Saints and has been capped four times by England. The Mole suggests it won’t be easy to lure him Down Under though, with St Helens trying to extend his deal.