Paper Talk: Hull KR eye Drinkwater, Ikahihifo and Wardle swap, Toronto face winding up order

Drew Darbyshire

We’ve had a scan through the latest trade papers.

Hull KR target Drinkwater

Josh Drinkwater is close to resolving his much-discussed future, with the Australin believed to be on the verge of signing a deal with Hull KR for 2019, report League Express.

The former Leigh Centurions and London Broncos half-back is currently a free agent after leaving Catalans Dragons at the end of last season. With Drinkwater’s move to Rovers being all but complete, Morgan Smith’s switch from Warrington Wolves has been pulled. League Express report that Drinkwater wanted a salary of around £150,000 but has agreed a deal with Hull KR on much lower terms.

Toronto face winding up order

Toronto Wolfpack face court action over unpaid legal fees worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, report League Weekly.

A petition to wind up the Wolfpack’s UK company has been made by law firm Brandsmiths and will be heard in Manchester’s County Court next month. Brandsmiths represented former Wolfpack forward Ryan Bailey, who escaped a possible four-year drugs ban for refusing to undergo a doping Test last year. A Toronto spokesperson told League Weekly: “This matter is in hand and the payment issue is being resolved. This relates to our small UK subsidiary company and not to Toronto Wolfpack in Canada.”

Catalans open up on Gelling saga

Catalans’ football manager Alex Chan has set the record straight on the speculation linking the Dragons with Anthony Gelling, staunchly denying any interest or wrongdoing in the ongoing saga, report League Express.

Chan denied any interest in  signing the controversial Gelling, despite his name appearing on a leaked document set to the French Rugby League Federation of the club’s squad for next year, while also reportedly training with the club. Chan told League Express: “I spoke to James Rule [Widnes CEO] and we’re both on damage control from both ends. I stressed to Anthony that he had to contact the people at Widnes, as it is putting both clubs in awkward positions. I assured James Rule that at no point we will make an offer to a contracted player. I told him explicitly that we have not given Anthony an offer nor asked him to come here.”

Widdop not a priority for St Helens

St Helens are putting new deals for Jonny Lomax and James Roby above a swoop for England star Gareth Widdop, report League Weekly.

Last week, The Sun claimed the 2018 League Leaders’ Shield winners were leading the chase for the St George Illawarra Dragons half-back, who has hinted that he could move to Super League in 2020. But sources have told League Weekly that no approach has been made, or is yet planned, for Widdop.

Ikahihifo and Wardle set for swap

Castleford and Huddersfield are in talks over a remarkable swap deal which could see Joe Wardle return to the Giants, with prop Seb Ikahihifo going the other way to the Tigers, report League Express.

League Express understands reports suggesting a deal is done between the two clubs is premature. However, they both remain in discussions over swapping the players with immediate effect. The deal is unlikely to be finalised before the end of this week though.

Ganson staying in England

Steve Ganson has confirmed that he will not be taking up the position of head of NRL referees Down Under, report League Weekly.

The former Super League and international was flattered be linked with the role but revealed that he would be staying with the Rugby Football League next year. He told League Weekly: “I’m happy in my present post of two years’ standing, my wife has a job as a teacher, we have a young family, and, besides, our Josh is at Wigan. I am busy right now preparing for what I feel will be a great season and welcoming seven new referees on to the Grade 1 panel.”

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