Talks are underway for Justin Carney to commit to Salford long-term. The Tank of the Flank is on a one-year loan deal from Cas, but judging on the history there and how his return to the Jungle went on Sunday, he won’t be a Tiger again in 2016. The big winger will attract interest from other clubs, but the word is the Red Devils are in the box seat to keep hold of Carney for the future.
Two losses from two rounds is not how New Zealand Warriors coach Andrew McFadden would have wanted to start the season. The pressure was on McFadden before the 2016 campaign even kicked off, with a poor end to 2015 and Ivan Cleary hovering around. The Kiwi club’s excellent recruiting means expectations are even higher this term. While Cleary is viewed as the front-runner to return to the club if McFadden is axed, we hear there is some support for club legend Stacey Jones. One of the Warriors’ all-time greats, Jones is the club’s NSW Cup coach and is highly regarded as an up-and-comer.
Toulouse are flying high in League 1, smashing Coventry 54-6 and then thrashing Hemel 74-0 in their first two games. But not everyone is happy with the new French upstarts. Some rival clubs are peeved that Toulouse have been given an unfair leg up by the RFL, with all their away travel paid for and having been given an easy start to the season. Toulouse have four of their first six games at home to start 2016, and have been given an easier draw them some others. They meet South Wales and Oxford in the next two rounds, after already playing the Bears and Stags.
North Queensland are set to lose some of their stars from their 2015 grand final winning team. Rival NRL clubs are circling, with Lachlan Coote and James Tamou likely to jump ship at the end of this year. Coote has no lack of admirers, with the Roosters, Titans and Dragons all interested, while Parramatta are keen on Tamou. With Junior Paulo expected to be off to Canberra, the Eels view NSW and Kangaroos prop Tamou as the perfect replacement. It will be hard, nigh impossible, for the Cowboys to keep all of their key players.
Still on Parramatta and the Sydney side have a battle on their hands to keep Corey Norman. The playmaker is off contract at the end of this year and the Eels may not be able to offer him a similiar-sized contract, with salary cap penalties pending and their recent splurges on Kieran Foran and Beau Scott proving costly. Norman left the Broncos in 2013 for the big money on offer at Parra Stadium. If he can’t get the same dollars at the blue and gold, he may head elsewhere.
Halfbacks on the move
Veteran scrum-halves Cooper Cronk and Peter Wallace are two players unattached at the end of 2016 who are attracting Super League admirers. Warrington want Cronk while Wallace, who has a UK passport, is being saught after by a few clubs. But talk reaches us that Cronk won’t come to England and wants a club in Sydney, or a stay with the Storm, instead. Wallace is playing the waiting game for the next few months to see if Penrith offer him a new deal. It may depend on how well he plays in the next few rounds. The Scottish international is more open to a Super League move, as he is keen to play on next year, but with a young family he is after the right package.
Our spies tell us bad news for Castleford with Luke Dorn likely to be out for the next six weeks with a hamstring tear. The fullback picked it up on Sunday against Salford and the expectation is that he may have a grade 2 tear. It comes at a terrible time for the Tigers who are already without Michael Shenton, Ben Roberts, Frankie Mariano, Junior Moors, Oliver Holmes and Grant Millington. Cas have a big challenge on their hands when they take on an in-form Warrington this weekend.