Paper Talk: Expand Super League & huge $6m deal for Australia star

Rugby league paper talk joseph leilua

Some big talking points raised over what IMG should address in their review of rugby league and if a move to expand Super League should be on the cards.

Huge deal for Australia star

Melbourne half-back Cameron Munster is edging closer to a $6m move to new NRL side the Dolphins. (Triple M)

Rumours Down Under suggest he will pen a four-year deal from 2024, making him the highest paid player in the NRL.

Former England and Bulldogs captain James Graham said: “I think for Munster to go onto the open market, to go to a new franchise team … he’ll be the highest paid player in the game.”

The Dolphins join the NRL in 2023 and have been busy recruiting a team from scratch. Arguably their stand-out signing so far is Anthony Milford from Newcastle Knights.

Expand Super League?

Some interesting points made by League Express editor Martyn Sadler in his weekly column, looking at things IMG should consider when reviewing the game.

Amongst other things, a suggestion that Super League at 12 teams is too small – and a move to expand Super League to 16 would help widen interest and the footprint of the competition.

Sadler writes: “We currently have 12 ‘elite’ clubs, with varying degrees of eliteness, in our top competition. I’m convinced that that number is too low and that it’s hard to promote much greater interest in a competition with so few participants.

“The NRL has 16 clubs playing in their elite competition, to be increased to 17 next year, and in my view widening the geographical footprint of Super League is essential if we are to widen interest.”

IMG will hopefully look at a number of issues with the long-term interests of the game at heart, rather than the current self-serving set up.

There are other debates around the competition structure, promotion and relegation and the length of the season to consider too.

Do you think IMG should expand Super League to 16 teams? And would that spell the end of promotion and relegation? Let us know in the comments below.

Youngsters could get Hull KR chance

Hull KR could be forced to recall some of their youngsters from loan deals elsewhere ahead of the trip to St Helens this week. (Hull Daily Mail)

Five of their brightest prospects featured for League 1 clubs over the weekend – outside back Max Kirkbright (Swinton), prop Nathan Cullen, half-back Adam Rusling (both Cornwall) and forwards Bailey Dawson and Tom Wilkinson (both Midlands).

Robins coach Danny McGuire joked he might have to come out of retirement after admitting he was struggling to name a 17 for the Saints clash.

Life ban for celebrating fan

A New Zealand Warriors fan has been handed a life ban for doing a so-called “shoey” in celebrating a try at the weekend. (The Mirror)

The 31-year-old fan opted to down a beer out of his shoe during the Warriors’ 42-18 win over Canterbury Bulldogs on Friday.

He was ejected from the game and told he wouldn’t be welcome back – and such has been the fall out following the incident, a petition has been launched to get the ban overturned.

Not sure who is taking credit for this one, but the man is now being dubbed “Roger Shoey Vasa-Shack” after the former Warriors and New Zealand star. Groan.

Early finish?

Hunslet coach Alan Kilshaw has suggested that the League 1 season should finish earlier to help clubs with consistency. (League Express)

Leauge 1 clubs started their campaign in the Challenge Cup back in January, and the play-offs don’t finish until the end of September.

In amongst all that, they’ve had several weekends off due to the cup schedules, as well as two weeks off due to the league having an odd number of teams.

Kilshaw said: “The breaks throughout the year don’t help. I wouldn’t see anything wrong in League 1 finishing before the other leagues. That would also give the teams that go up a decent crack of playing in the Championship because they’ll have a little longer to prepare for it.”

MORE: Relegation run-in: Toulouse need miracle to stay up after Wakefield win

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About James Gordon 7161 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.


  1. 14 teams. 26 league games played. 2 up and 2 down. Play-offs 3 v 6 and 4 v 5. 1 & 2 get byes. At Old Trafford.

    Cup final at Tottenham in late June. I will never go to Wembley again.

  2. So question for the #RLfamily

    1). Where will the elite players come from for the extra 4 teams?
    2). Where will the fans come from for the extra 4 teams?
    3). What revenue streams will be used to fund the extra 4 teams?

    I’ll await some answers

  3. Promotion and relegation within Super League just doesn’t work at the moment and I can’t see the change in numbers making any difference. Would be better if promotion worked on a 3 year cycle. At least the clubs who get promoted have the chance to build resources and are able to offer players the security of at least a 2 year contract in Super League.

  4. 16 teams? We can barely support 12. There isn’t the player pool, look how many of our clubs their top performers are not British born citizens. Maybe there could be an argument for a team from Cumbria, but London fell away, the Wales clubs bumble along, the Toronto experiment failed, Toulouse are making a fight of it but look doomed this season. The amateur game is dwindling, we can’t even run a full reserve grade system. The likelihood is that four extra clubs would come from the heartlands, to what benefit? Up against the media bias and hostility of the Establishment we’re not ever going to get fair coverage. The dread phrase “for those of you new to Rugby League”, we’ve been around since 1895 not 2020. We gave up the term Rugby, we allowed them to use the term Rugby World Cup, there are Super Leagues all over, we don’t secure rights, branding, etc. The most positive move for advertising in recent years were the Stobart lorries, and they gave that away, but up and down the country I heard people talking about them, even trying to spot them all. We need to get nasty to be honest, JJB comes closest, he calls out Union for the borefest it is, he’s the kind of voice I want to hear more from! Outspoken, proud, not afraid to speak out! But instead it’s like the game is played in secret. You don’t even get organised lists of bans, injuries, team lists published on Wednesday for the weekend games. I’d let the NRL run the sport. But why would they bother? Nothing in it for them.

  5. What is Super League? Is it football, table tennis, marbles or an action packed team sport played by skilful athletes? Sadly, for the majority, it could be one or all. Let’s hope IMG’s recommendations include rebranding back to Rugby League. Maybe then the game can then start rebuilding.

  6. For both variety and in helping professional rugby league clubs to survive, I think that we should have more teams in Super League. Toulouse should stay up this year, and both Leigh and Featherstone should both come up. If not, then we should have a policy of two up and two down as suggested above. I think its crazy to be the top team all year in the Championship and then have to endure the nervousness of the playoffs. Surely if you have the gained the most points all season then you should automatically go up and not have to face the risk of not going up simply because you play badly in a one off game in the playoff final. Remember how Toronto lost out in their first final. Therefore, the top team should go up and the rest of the top teams compete in the playoffs. If you look at the top of the Championship, there are some strong teams and even though Leigh are top, they could simply bomb out in the playoffs, which is unfair. The same for Toulouse if they go down. They would have to endure another year of attempting to stay at the top and then at the end of it, the gamble of the playoffs. If teams consist of professional players, then surely they need more chance of playing in the top league where the money to survive and develop is.

  7. More teams means more Aussies. End of. The NRL just want to use it as a feeder competition so they cherry pick the best and brightest.
    Also, if you have more teams, that means more matches, yes? Aren’t the coaches complaining they play too many games? We also need to go backwards and make it so that every team goes into the hat for every round of challenge cup. That way, the little teams have their cup finals against the top teams and who knows, maybe Hull Dockers could beat St Elsewhere and cause a massive upset.
    Surely that’s better for the game in general than just having 14 teams of Aussies.
    Bring back the floodlit Trophy, the Yorkshire Cup etc. PROMOTE THE BLOODY GAME FOR ONCE. PUT IT BACK ON GRANDSTAND ON SATURDAYS, noone likes Friday nights, or Monday nights or Sunday lunchtime.
    The RFL have taken all the money and done nothing. It’s about time they were accountable.

  8. Why don’t we just go back to playing in the winter and on Saturday Afternoons ?

    Let’s stick to the M62 corridor and then we can all sit back and watch the game slowly disappear professionally and who knows, ultimately in an amateur form too.

    Careful what you wish for……..ços this is just might be what you’ll get !

  9. CATALANS were given time to develop and preferential quotas for NRL players. Toulouse are developing well. Many people fail to understand the long connection between those areas of France and the commitment to the 13 man code. Many fans love the away journey as a mini holiday,

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