Strong mail that the Magic Weekend will be back in Newcastle next year. Etihad Stadium in Manchester is keen to have Super League’s showpiece event but the RFL wants to go back to St James Park in 2016 considering the big success it was this year, exposing the game to new fans. There is also likely to be changes in the fixtures, with some of the clashes becoming a tad stale in recent times.
Wakefield and Salford are busy on the recruitment front as they look to fill their roster for next year. The Red Devils have players to replace while Wildcats have a host of off-contract talent. Brian Smith, who has been confirmed to stay on as coach, is back in Australia already and Cronulla backrower Anthony Tupou is expected to be joining Wakefield on a two-year deal. Tim Sheens is heading down under this week and is believed to be after another four players. Watch this space.
No Leuluai for Leeds
OTR understands that NZ Warriors and former Wigan utility Thomas Leuluai isn’t heading to Leeds in 2016. There was speculation that the Kiwi half/hooker might return to Super League, and the Rhinos would be a good fit with a free spot at 9. But that appears unlikely, the same as Penrith five-eighth Jamie Soward heading back to the UK. Soward, who had a short successful spell with London two years ago, is keen to remain in the NRL.
The 2016 Super League scheduling will see plenty of changes with several clubs keen to avoid the short turnarounds. Wakefield will play more games on Saturdays, while Huddersfield and Castleford could be the only two sides to play matches regularly on Sunday afternoons. More clubs want to play on Friday nights, so we could see three or four fixtures every Friday, so their players receive the adequate rest time between games.
Leigh’s public announcement that it will flout the salary cap next year has left a few in a spin. With Salford quarter Rangi Chase, Harrison Hansen, Reni Maitua and Corey Patterson set to join the Centurions, how can Leigh fit them all in and how will the RFL react? The talk is that Leigh may end up loaning some of these players to Super League clubs and then recall them for the Super 8s. This could keep them under the cap. We wait with interest to see how this all unfolds.
Hurrell not hurrying to Wigan?
Rumours have linked Konrad Hurrell with a move from New Zealand Warriors to Wigan, though it seems that the Lancashire club are not interested in bringing the Tongan international to England. The powerhouse centre does seem to be on the move, however, but it could well be to the other code, with a move to rugby union more likely than working with Shaun Wane and co.