Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #172

Which playmaker is set to depart Catalans? Which Championship forward is attracting Super League interest? Who is in and out at Salford? Find out in the gossip column.

Smith offered to clubs

Catalans Dragons have notified Super League and Championship clubs over the availability of experienced half-back Matty Smith.

The 31-year-old has been dropped by coach Steve McNamara in recent weeks, with the Dragons instead opting to go with Samisoni Langi and Tony Gigot in the halves, with Sam Tomkins at full-back. Smith has copped criticism over his performances since arriving at Catalans from St Helens and he is on his way out of Perpignan – but his destination is not yet known.

Championship forward sought after

Leigh Centurions back-rower or loose forward Joe Cator is attracting a lot of interest from Super League right now, with Hull FC keen on securing his services.

The 21-year-old is from Hull and came through the system at city rivals Hull Kingston Rovers, where he played 17 games before crossing the Pennines to Lancashire outfit Leigh. Cator has played 25 games for the Centurions this season and is believed to be one of the most sought after players in the Championship. London are also interested in Cator but it’s understood he is happy at Leigh right now.

Hull KR swoop in for Castleford prop

Hull Kingston Rovers are lining up a move for Castleford Tigers prop Will Maher.

The Cumbrian is set to leave the Tigers at the end of the season as he is off-contract. Maher is on the fringes of Daryl Powell’s first-team squad but wants to get regular game time in Super League after being limited to just six appearances in 2019. Hull KR are keen on bringing the 23-year-old to the KCOM Craven Park and offering him more chances in the top-flight.

Gold Coast merry-go-round

Gold Coast Titans sacked head coach Garth Brennan over the weekend and speculation is rife in linking St Helens boss Justin Holbrook with the NRL job.

Australian journalist The Mole is suggesting that Queensland coach Kevin Walters could get the Titans job, which would see Wayne Bennett and Paul Green fight it out for he job. Holbrook – who is out of contract with Saints at the end of the season – is still at the top of Gold Coast’s wish-list at the moment.

One in, one out at Salford

Salford Red Devils are always busy with incomings and outgoings in the transfer market, with prop Ben Nakubuwai set to leave the club at the end of the year.

The Fiji international is set to return home to Australia when his contract expires at the end of the campaign. However, Wakefield Trinity back-rower Pauli Pauli will join Salford on a permanent basis from 2020. The former Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels man enjoyed a successful loan period at the Red Devils earlier this season, scoring three tries in three games.

Catalans move for Maloney

Catalans Dragons want to sign Australia and New South Wales representative James Maloney for the 2020 season onwards.

The Penrith Panthers playmaker recently guided the Blues to a State of Origin series win over Queensland. He has made no secret about being open for a switch to Super League in 2020, and the Dragons are intent on sealing the deal. Maloney would be on a marquee wage. At 33, Maloney would be looking at a two, possibly three-year deal with Catalans.

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