Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #169

Ray Mour

Are Wigan looking to bring in a prop? What is the latest on Luke Thompson’s future? Which back is leaving Castleford? Find out in the gossip column. 

Wigan to ask for Clark early

Wigan Warriors will try and bring Castleford Tigers prop Mitch Clark in earlier than expected following the departure of Taulima Tautai.

Tautai left the club earlier this week by mutual consent following his drink-drive conviction. Wigan have already signed Clark on a three-year contract from the 2020 season but they are poised to ask Castleford for him now. The New Zealander played for Halifax last weekend via dual-registration and has not featured much for the Tigers since his move to the Warriors was confirmed. Wigan also lost prop Gabe Hamlin at the start of the year due to a UK Anti-Doping violation, so they are low on front-rowers.

Thompson to stay at St Helens

England international Luke Thompson will at least see out his contract with St Helens, which runs until the end of the 2021 season.

The 24-year-old made his first-team debut for Saints back in 2013 after progressing through the club’s academy. He has played almost 150 games for the club and has earned four caps for England to date. Thompson is one of the best props in Super League right now and has recently been linked with moves to South Sydney Rabbitohs and Newcastle Knights, but he will remain a Saint for the next 18 months at least.

Watkins was not wanted by Gold Coast coach

An extraordinary story coming from The Mole Down Under suggests Gold Coast Titans coach Garth Brennan did not want Kallum Watkins when he was being offered around to clubs.

According to The Mole, the Titans signed Leeds captain Watkins without even consulting Brennan and now he must play him because the club paid “big dollars” for the England international. Watkins will play his final game for the Rhinos on Sunday afternoon against Catalans, before he tests his luck in the NRL with the Titans from July 1.

Leigh willing to splash the cash

Leigh Centurions have made a number of high profile signings as the season has gone on and they are not finished yet as they aim for promotion to Super League.

John Duffy’s side have brought in the likes of Jordan Thompson, Cory Paterson, Liam Forsyth, Liam Hood, Gareth Hock and James Laithwaite to the club part way through 2019. Leigh owner Derek Beaumont wants to help get his hometown club back into Super League before the 2021 TV deal is struck as the top tier’s funding will be far superior the that of the Championship. Leigh are expected to make more signings in the coming weeks.

Castleford back to depart

Castleford Tigers centre Tuoyo Egodo has not been offered a new contract by the club and is set to depart the Mend-A-Hose Jungle at the end of the campaign.

Egodo – who hails from London – came through the London Broncos academy, before signing for Castleford in 2017. The 22-year-old outside-back has scored five tries in 11 appearances for the Tigers to date and he has enjoyed loan spells at Hemel, Oldham, York, Newcastle and Bradford. Egodo’s contract expires at the end of the season and he is set for a move elsewhere.

Leeds want Agar permanently

Leeds Rhinos want current interim head coach Richard Agar to be their boss on a permanent basis.

Agar has been in temporary charge since the Rhinos sacked Australian coach Dave Furner at the start of March. Leeds currently sit joint bottom in the Super League table – just above Hull KR on points difference. Agar has a good rapport with Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield and chief executive Gary Hetherington. He is expected to be Leeds coach in 2020.

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