Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #193

Ray Mour

Is the Valencia double-header going ahead? Where next for Matty Smith? What is the latest on Jackson Hastings? Find out in the rumour and gossip column. 

Valencia double-header falls through

Valencia Huracanes are set to follow-up their friendly at home to Featherstone Rovers with a trip to face London Skolars.

The Huracanes are likely to play a number of friendlies throughout the season, alongside their Spanish league commitments, as they try to build profile and support for their entry in to League 1 in 2021. Meanwhile, the game against Featherstone is set to be held at the 4,500-capacity Vilajoyosa Stadium, 10km away from Benidorm. Plans to hold it at Levante CF’s 26,000-capacity ground had to be shelved when plans to have a double-header with St Helens and Salford fell through.

Hastings not homesick

Reports that Jackson Hastings is homesick are wide of the mark, with speculation Down Under that he is unhappy with certain terms of his Wigan Warriors contract.

An immediate move to the NRL seems unlikely with talk he may even end up at another Super League club. Leeds Rhinos, who he turned down to sign for Wigan, have expressed a desire to add a marquee player while Hastings posted a picture on his instagram account last week wearing a Toronto Wolfpack cap.

Leeds want marquee man

With Luke Gale already in for 2020, any move for Jackson Hastings would mean shifting someone on at Headingley, amidst talk that Robert Lui is unsettled after his mid-season move from Salford Red Devils.

The increased attention on the Rhinos, especially after their poor campaign last term, is being cited as a possible reason.

NRL return for Wiliame

Catalans Dragons centre Brayden Wiliame is set to join St George Illawarra Dragons ahead of the 2020 season.

It was originally reported that he was set to join the NRL side for 2021 – but the move may now happen earlier than expected. The Fiji international hasn’t been seen at the club’s recent open training session.

Where next for Smith?

Last week, Catalans Dragons confirmed that veteran playmaker Matty Smith has been released from the final year of his contract.

The 32-year-old is currently looking for a new club and is in negotiations with several Super League and Championship sides. Smith found chances limited at the Dragons and will want a regular spot at his next destination – but he could find it difficult in Super League, with most clubs having already wrapped up their business for 2020. There have been murmurs that Smith could make the switch to part-time with Widnes, which could suit him due to him being local as he lives in St Helens.

Sea Eagles swoop for Lussick

Manly Sea Eagles are making moves to sign Joey Lussick from Salford Red Devils.

He was pivotal in helping the Red Devils to a first Super League Grand Final last season and is regarded as one of the best hookers in Super League. Under contract for 2020, the Sea Eagles will have to wait until 2021 to get him to the NRL.

More on site

The top six wingers in the 2019 Super League season

Bradford reveal reserve squad for 2020

Coventry return to Butts Park Arena for 2020

Rugby League Today: England to play Samoa, Ma’u contemplates international retirement & women’s tragedy

Featherstone Women’s player passes away, aged 29