Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #194

Ray Mour

The first gossip column of the year is out now. 

Wilkin’s retirement u-turn

Toronto’s 23-man squad could have been even lighter had Jon Wilkin not been persuaded to come out of retirement by Brian McDermott following the end of last season.

Former St Helens and Hull KR back-rower Wilkin had decided to hang up his boots after the Grand Final win over Featherstone, but will go round again as part of the Wolfpack’s 2020 squad. It means he’s missed a chunk of pre-season though, having only joined the squad for training on January 6th. He sat out the pre-season game at Castleford as he works back to full fitness.

Leeds were in for Latu

Warrington have found the missing piece of their jigsaw ahead of the 2020 Super League campaign in the shape of Tonga prop Leilani Latu.

But it is believed that Leeds were keen on securing Latu’s services for this season, with coach Richard Agar looking to add one or two more additions to his squad.

What’s your name, Paul?

A story that sums up the current situation regarding the England team this one.

Apparently, when Wayne Bennett first joined as coach, he asked Paul Wellens what was his name and what position he played; without realising that the former St Helens full-back was actually on his coaching staff. Not sure if that’s more of a reflection on Bennett or Wellens’ baby-face.

Toronto on the Chase

Focus continues on the Wolfpack’s recruitment plans, though they appear to be at a stalemate with their salary cap.

That means unless a dispensation can be agreed with the RFL, that Toronto must look at rugby union to bring in players – as code-switchers don’t count on the cap for the first year. One player Toronto do have who isn’t in the UK (or Canada) is Chase Stanley, who is still in Australia trying to sort out a visa which would get him off the Wolfpack’s quota, thus freeing up a space for someone else.

Anglo-French relations at Catalans

Catalans are keen to add more English (or Welsh) players to their squad, as they look to shrug off their travelling woes, as well as helping their growing contingent of English players to settle in France.

They risked the irk of Salford last week by making a move for Wales international prop Gil Dudson, a stand out in the Red Devils’ run to the Super League Grand Final. Of Catalans 26-man squad for the new season, 14 are French and six are English.

Brothers on Widnes radar

Widnes have shown an interest in signing brothers Luke and Toby Adamson for the 2020 season.

The brothers are currently free agents after leaving Leigh at the end of last year, and the Vikings are currently looking to bolster their pack ahead of the new Championship campaign. The Adamsons were offered new deals by the Centurions in the off-season but the pair turned the club’s offers down. Widnes have expressed an interest, while Newcastle enquired about the services of Luke and Toby earlier in the off-season.

More on site

Warrington announce co-captains for 2020

Dean Hadley sidelined for three months

Sydney Roosters to auction World Club Challenge jerseys to raise funds for fire service

Why Leilani Latu chose Warrington

Rugby League Today: Watson to extend Salford stay, Leeds re-sign hooker & Reynolds’ viral video