Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #174

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Which Widnes man is linked with Leigh? Which NRL forward is going to Hull? Who is on their way out of Leeds? Find out in the rumour and gossip column. 

Widnes star linked with Leigh

Danny Craven’s man of the match performance for Widnes Vikings in their 1895 Cup semi-final at Leigh Centurions will have drawn attention.

He has been heavily linked with a switch to Leigh, while at least one Super League club is believed to have shown interest. Craven does have a contract with Widnes for next season, but with the Vikings going part-time, they are trying to re-negotiate or offload players on full-time deals.

NRL forward heading to Hull

Hull FC have signed blockbusting Samoa international Ligi Sao for 2020 and beyond.

The 26-year-old will make the switch from Auckland to Humberside in the off-season after penning terms with Lee Radford’s Hull side. Sao made his NRL debut in 2013 for Manly before making the switch to New Zealand Warriors in 2016. He has 43 first-grade games to his name and he made his international debut for Samoa last year.

Leeds forward to depart

Veteran back-rower Brett Ferres will leave Leeds Rhinos at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old is out-of-contract at the end of the year and will not be offered a new deal by the club. Ferres has been linked with a move to Wakefield for 2020 and his future definitely lies away from Headingley. Ferres has made almost 350 career appearances for Bradford, Wakefield, Castleford, Huddersfield and Leeds.

New Liverpool club making progress

Plans for a new team based in Liverpool are still ticking along, despite it falling off the radar in recent months.

A big launch had been planned ahead of the Magic Weekend at Anfield, but it never happened. Politics are believed to be holding up progress, with the uncertainty over the structure of the game beyond 2021 meaning the RFL are reluctant to accept new applications. Figures behind a Manchester team last year were told their only hope of entry was to purchase an existing teams’ licence. Either way, the Liverpool project is far from dead.

Wigan ace to return home

Wigan Warriors full-back Morgan Escare will return to his native homeland of France at the end of 2019.

The France international has found chances hard to come by in his time at Wigan, playing just six games this year. A number of French clubs are interested in the 27-year-old, including Catalans, Lezignan and Limoux. Escare has played 48 games for the Warriors during his three years at the club, with 24 of those coming from the bench.

Salford kit dilemma

The gossip column is normally full of juicy stories about transfers and contracts – but a new entry is the kit dilemma that Salford Red Devils face!

Ian Watson’s side have played in their black away kit several times at home this season, purely because they prefer it to their red home kit. The black away strip has proved to be a lucky charm for Salford on a number of occasions this term and they prefer wearing it rather than their red kit this campaign. It’s a random bit of gossip, but there you go.

More on site

Ben Westwood to retire at season’s end

Patrick Ah Van makes incredible gesture to Widnes

Corey Thompson thankful for spell in Super League

Hull KR reveal highest average attendance in 10 years

Newcastle confirm signing of Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e