Off the Record: Rugby League Transfer Gossip #9

Belmore bash-up

Movement around the traps at the Bulldogs with Will Hopoate believed to be on his way to the blue and white. Hopoate has had an unhappy time at Parramatta, since returning from his Mormon mission, and appears keen to reunite with former Manly coach Des Hasler at Canterbury. This could mean Samoan international Tim Lafai is on his way out of the Dogs. And joining Hopoate at Belmore may be Gold Coast utility Daniel Mortimer. The son of one of the famous Mortimer clan of brothers, who made such history at the Bulldogs in the 1980s, it would be history repeated to have another Mortimer at the club.

Carney to fly?

Speculation continues to swirl around Justin Carney. The big winger is supposedly staying at Cas, despite the messy situation he was involved in and the issues with the rest of the playing ground. But the surprise signing of Joel Monaghan muddies the waters a bit. We hear Hull FC are keen on Carney and may a loan deal to the Airlie Birds suit both parties? The Rangi Chase rumours have also continued to go into overdrive. Leigh are believed to be having troubles registering him, so is a return to the Jungle or even a switch to the KC Stadium being lined up? NRL clubs are also interested in the controversial Kiwi half.

Melting chocolate

More drama at Penrith with the sacking of head coach Ivan Cleary. Both halves Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace are unsettled, with Soward being shopped around to other NRL sides. This is also talk of big centre Jamal Idris being on his way out, with Melbourne Storm a potential mooted destination. The fallout from Cleary’s axing is growing. Reports have surfaced that Panthers GM Phil ‘Gus’ Gould fired Cleary without telling the club’s board. There could be more player movement afoot with the Chocolate Soldiers.

Saints snap up Owens?

St Helens are apparently set to pick up recently released Widnes fullback Jack Owens. The 21-year old made his Super League debut way back in 2011 as a teenage and has racked 27 tries in 63 appearances. Owens’ signing means Aussie utility Adam Quinlan is surely on his way out of Langtree Park. OTR understands Quinlan is keen to stay in the UK and is talks with a few Super League clubs.

Rhinos or Rabbits?

No one makes news in rugby league like Sam Burgess and the drumbeats are growing in volume about his return. Burgess has copped plenty of criticism in rugby union, most of it unfair, and would be welcomed back to his native code. But will it back to Sydney, or a return to Yorkshire? It appears to be a two-way battle for Burgess’s services between Leeds and South Sydney. While his family are now located in Australia, he seems to have enjoyed his time back in the UK. With an NRL grand final win already secured, is a Super League title and a Challenge Cup winners medal his next goal?