Smithy doesn’t speak
Brian Smith’s hasty exit from Belle Vue certainly caught the Wakey hierachy unawares. Smith delivered his bombshell yesterday and the players, for one, did not see it coming. One player, who Smith brought to the club, told us it was a “big shock” and they guessed the coach “just had enough”. One win from five isn’t a great start to 2016, but still the Aussie’s departure at this stage is a surprising one.
The rumour mill is running hot is that four Leigh players have already agreed to join the new Canada team to play in League 1 next year and to be led by ex-Leigh coach Paul Rowley. Star halfback Ryan Brierley won’t be joining the Canadian exodus. But apparently hooker Bob Beswick is one set to join Rowley’s Canucks. There’s also talk that the Canadian team will be based in north-west England, not Leeds, to cut down on the travel issue.
The Chase is on
Leigh is leaking like a sieve and the latest talk is a disturbing one. Word comes to us that the reason Rangi Chase hasn’t been on the field in recent weeks is because he is allegedly in rehab. We sincerely hope that isn’t the case, but it’s information that two different sources have told us. Chase battled mental health problems late last year and we hope he recovers soon.
We keep hearing it is David Furner, not Steve McNamara, who Hull KR is after as coach for 2017. The Robins have got James Webster to keep the seat warm for the rest of this year. Former player Furner, who starred fo Wigan and Leeds as a forward, is their top candidate for the permanent role. The 45-year old has decent experience having been in charge at Canberra for five years with a 43% win record. Since then he assisted Tim Sheens with Australia, winning the 2013 World Cup, and has been assistant to Paul Green at the Cowboys, helping North Queensland win last year’s grand final.
One thing Hull KR need to do is sort out the futures of a number of their players. James Green is one who is off contract and is being linked to a move to the NRL next year. Mitchell Allgood has another year to run on his contract but he may be moved on in 2017. Aussie Maurice Blair will be a free agent at the end of this season, the same as James Donaldson. Ben Cockayne‘s deal also runs out at the end of 2016, but he will have a one-year extension activated if he makes 15 appearances this year. Some hard calls will need to be made by the new coach.
Eat your heart out
Ruffling a few feathers is part of the job and this column has managed to do that on a few occasions. We note recently one of our rivals taking a pot shot at one of our reveals, about a mysterious back injury plaguing Shaun Lunt. This sad competitor tried to discredit us, but Lunt actually confirmed his back problem in a story last week, which you can read here.