Talk is growing that Penrith Panthers centre Jamal Idris is on his way to Super League. Undoubtedly talented, the Panthers let Idris go this year after he requested a break to ponder his future. OTR understands a handful of English clubs are interested in the big New South Welshman. On his day the former Bulldog, Titan and Panther is devastating, and he has played once each for NSW and Australia. But he has personal issues to deal with and has also been hit by injuries in 2015. Different, enigmatic, extroverted, Idris is a special character. We hear the 25-year old rocked up to Penrith pre-season training in November more than 15 kilograms overweight. Whoever signs Idris will be taking a fair risk.
More from the foot of the mountains with speculation that Phil ‘Gus’ Gould is keen on an English player for 2016. There has been a big shakeup at Penrith, before and after Ivan Cleary was axed, with several players shipped in and out, and more movement could be on its way. Gould was in the UK earlier this year on a scouting mission and he has speculated about bringing in someone from Super League for the new campaign. The Panthers are believed to be looking for a prop and back-rower to strengthen their pack.
Justin Carney’s brain-dead move has now been replicated by Brett Ferres at Huddersfield – you just can’t make this stuff up. This surely means Ferres’ future at the Giants is over, despite him being contracted until 2019, and funnily enough after he earlier knocked back offers from the NRL. There are a few clubs interested in a loan move for the England international, with Salford an obvious choice. In October Ferres said publicly that family was the reason behind his decision to ignore the NRL and stay in Super League. Wonder if that changes now? It would be some back-flip.
Is the Championship’s salary cap getting increased from £1 million to £1.3 million next year? We note with interest one club owner alluding to as much recently in a newspaper article about new rules around the cap. Apparently clubs may be able to spend more as long as a cash bond is placed with the RFL. Watch this space as we await confirmation. If the cap is to be boosted it would mean the gap between the haves and the have nots in the second tier grows wider.
Dead man walking
The knives are out for Jason Taylor at Wests Tigers and we will be stunned if he survives more than halfway through the 2016 NRL season. The Tigers are a bit of a basket case and he has fumbled Robbie Farah issue badly, not to mention a lack of on-field success. If the joint-venture gets off to a bad start next year expect him to get the sack quickly. The decision by young halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses to hold off re-signing has just about sealed Taylor’s fate. There are plenty of quality coaches waiting in the wings, such as Geoff Toovey and Ivan Cleary.
F45 for Farrar
Former London Broncos, Catalans, Manly and North Queensland utility Ben Farrar has returned to Australia and set up his own personal training business. Farrar has bought a franchise of the F45 Training company, which is very popular down under amongst rugby league players, with the likes of Nate Myles, Jarryd Hayne, Todd Carney and Willie Tonga advocates. The 28-year old is set to launch the fitness offering in his hometown of Newcastle in January and it looks like his professional playing days are over.