Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #167

Ray Mour

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Which forward is heading out of London? Who is leading the race for Jackson Hastings? Which NRL forward has been offered to Super League? Find out in the rumour and gossip column.

London forward set for exit

Australian froward Luke Yates is set to leave London Broncos at the end of the campaign.

The 24-year-old has caught the eye of several Super League clubs this year due to his impressive performances for Danny Ward’s outfit. It is expected that he will depart but whether his next destination is Super League or the NRL remains to be seen. Yates boasts one of the best work rates for a front-rower in Super League, and he is a man in demand right now.

Battle over Hastings

Wigan Warriors are the frontrunners to sign Salford Red Devils half-back Jackson Hastings for the 2020 campaign and beyond.

The Cherry and Whites are very confident they will lure the Australian to the DW Stadium for next year. However, they face tough competition from Leeds Rhinos, who are desperate to sign a half-back. NRL side St George Illawarra Dragons have also shown a bit of interest in Hastings, but Wigan remain the favourites to secure his services.

Championship name could be changed

The name of the Championship could be set for a name change for the 2021 season.

The upcoming TV deal in 2021 could throw a spanner in the works for Super League, Championship and League One, depending on how it pans out. Super League are their own entity now, meaning the RFL’s divisions – Championship and League One – could fully breakaway. There are rumours the Championship could change its name to ‘Premier League’ or ‘Premiership’, with League One then taking on the ‘Championship’ tag. It could all get a bit confusing!

Marshall en route to St Helens

Former Halifax coach Richard Marshall is on his way to take up the assistant coaching position at St Helens.

The role is currently vacant after Sean Long left the club with immediate effect to take up an attacking coaching position with rugby union outfit Harlequins. An announcement for Long’s successor is imminent and it is expected to be Marshall. The ex-Fax boss had recently been spotted having chats with Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield, but nothing came of them and Marshall is set to become Justin Holbrook’s right-hand man at Saints.

Wakefield seal Westerman deal

Wakefield Trinity have won the race to sign Hull FC loose forward Joe Westerman on a two-year deal from the 2020 season.

The 29-year-old has attracted interest from several Super League clubs in recent weeks, including Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers, but it’s Trinity who have secured his signature. Westerman, who made a solitary appearance for England in 2014, has previously played for Castleford, Warrington Wolves, Toronto Wolfpack and Hull. It’s not known when Wakefield will confirm the signing though.

Super League clubs keeping tabs on NRL forward

New Zealand international Russell Packer is set to leave Wests Tigers and Super League clubs have been alerted.

Packer, who has earned seven caps for the Kiwis, has reportedly fallen out with Wests coach Michael Maguire and is on his way out of the club. Packer would be a doozy addition to any team in England, having made over 170 NRL appearances for New Zealand Warriors, St George Illawarra Dragons and Wests Tigers.

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