Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #187

Ray Mour

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Which Championship prop are Salford interested in? What is the latest on New York’s bid? Who will replace Sam Burgess at South Sydney Rabbitohs? Find out in the gossip column. 

Salford keen on Fleming

Salford Red Devils are interested in signing prop Dan Fleming from Halifax for the 2020 season.

The 27-year-old signed a one-year deal with hometown club Halifax in September but the Red Devils are believed to be very keen on signing the prop. Fleming has been one of the standout forwards outside of Super League for a number of years now and we could well see him in the top-flight next year. He has earned six caps for Wales.

New York to get green light

The New York bid to join League 1 from 2021 is expected to get the nod by the end of the year.

They will enter the third tier alongside Ottawa in the latest plans to expand the game. Their headline signing target is Great Britain captain James Graham, while they are also pondering approaches to Benji Marshall, Darius Boyd and the Morris twins, according to reports Down Under.

Burgess replacement lined up

South Sydney Rabbitohs are already eyeing up a couple of players to replace retiring legend Sam Burgess.

Great Britain and England international Burgess has been forced to retire immediately due to a chronic shoulder injury. The Rabbitohs have a lot of money to play with now in terms of bringing in a replacement, with St George Illawarra Dragons’ Tyson Frizell, Brisbane Broncos prop David Fifita and St Helens ace Luke Thompson at the top of their wishlist.

Wales international to stay in Championship

Swinton Lions have re-signed Wales international Ben Morris on a one-year contract.

The 22-year-old centre or back-rower linked up with the Lions towards the end of last season after leaving Rochdale Hornets. Morris made six appearances for Swinton and impressed under coach Stuart Littler. Morris is set to stay in the Championship in 2020.

Bulls back to Bradford

The campaign to bring the Bulls back to Bradford is focusing on sites around the city, amidst fears that a return to Odsal won’t ever be viable.

The council is at the limit of its state aid, meaning no funding for any improvements or works to be carried out. Andrew Chalmers is believed to have cancelled a number of meetings surrounding the future of the ground prior to his sale of the club, which was held up by his alleged failure to file accounts. It appears the best chance for the Bulls to return to Bradford will be playing at an improved Horsfall Stadium, home of Bradford Park Avenue.

Huddersfield and Salford swap deal

Salford Red Devils’ interest in Huddersfield Giants prop Sebastine Ikahihifo has been well documented in recent weeks – but the move could see loose forward Mark Flanagan move the other way.

The Giants have offered high-earner Ikahihifo around to clubs over the last 12 months as they tried to free up space on their salary cap. Salford want to beef up their pack for 2020 and see Ikahihifo as a perfect fit – but his signature might require co-captain Flanagan going to Huddersfield.

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