Off the Record: Rugby League Transfer Gossip #15

London crusade

Do the North Wales Crusaders potentially have a new owner in Mark Croston? Word comes to us that Croston, a director at London Skolars, could be set to take over at the club. Previously he was a coach of the Skolars and also donned his boots for the London Broncos back in the day. Croston has showed some interest in North Wales, but any takeover has yet to go through. Expansionist Croston will have a huge job on his hands at the Crusaders if he is the new boss.

Club rumblings

Which English club has got problems mounting up an alarming rate? Their season tickets are not on sale yet and they have no ground confirmed for the 2016 season. They’ve only signed a handful of new players and things are starting to look grim in the near future. Not good at all, if our spies are on the money. Announcements are expected soon, but they can’t come quickly enough.

Big-name switch

Wackiest rumour of the week comes in the form of an England star supposedly heading to a rival Super League club. This player has had his injury problems over the years, but he remains a star of the competition and has been a key figure at his club for some time. He has relatives who have played for his supposed new destination, but we just can’t see the move happening, especially when he has a future coaching role lined up at his current side. We’ll keep you posted if the unbelievable occurs.

England Knights

OTR hears that Penrith are not the only club on the hunt for English talent but Newcastle, now coached by ex-St Helens boss, Nathan Brown, are also keen. Brown took over from Rick Stone who was axed after the Knights’ diabolical season, which saw them end with the wooden spoon. The former Huddersfield and Saints coach was after James Roby but it’s highly likely that his pursuit will be unsuccessful there, but we understand Brown is eyeing other English prospects. Newcastle does have room in its salary cap after the departure of long-serving veterans Kurt Gidley and Chris Houston.

Re-Knighted Dureau

More from Hunter Stadium where ex-Catalans halfback Scott Dureau has returned to his old club. Dureau left the Dragons at the end of the 2015 season and has gone back to his old NRL club, where he made 42 appearances. The playmaker hails from nearby Taree and has family in Newcastle. Dureau has been helping out at Knights training and serving as a mentor to the side’s young halves. No word on a playing return, but the half is only 29 and still has plenty left in the tank. A gig with Newcastle’s NSW Cup team, providing back-up if first-choice halves Trent Hodkinson and Jarrod Mullen get injured, makes sense.

Big MALadjustment

Talk is lively regarding Mal Meninga in PNG at the moment, where Kumuls fans are incensed about his appointment as Kangaroos coach when he was still contracted to coach the PNG team. It seems he may have had good reason for his somewhat ‘laidback’ approach to the role latterly, as talk is he has not been paid by the PNGRFL for a year. With rumours also coming out of the PNG Hunters camp that players have not been paid the amounts that they have been promised in their contracts either, it seems financial issues are bubbling away in PNG RL. With World Cup games planned for Port Moresby in 2017, the game’s authorities could do without this kind of thing affecting the tournament. Wayne Bennett is being touted as Meninga’s successor as Kumuls coach by some sources.

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