Paper Talk: Ikahihifo future confirmed, Walker set for Salford, Hull FC rule out Bowen deal

Drew Darbyshire

There is a lot of speculation surrounding player futures in the latest papers.

Ikahihifo futured confirmed

Sebastine Ikahihifo will start the season at Huddersfield Giants after negotiations surrounding a swap deal cooled, report League Express.

The front-rower has been linked with switch to Castleford Tigers this off-season after the two clubs held negotiations over a deal that could have seen Joe Wardle go the other way. Hull FC then entered the fold after proposing a deal including Fetuli Talanoa, but League Express report that negotiations have halted since the festive period. Castleford are now focusing on bringing in a half-back following Luke Gale’s season ending injury.

Hull FC not signing Bowen

Hull FC have played down their reported interest in North Queensland Cowboys centre Javid Bowen, report League Weekly.

The 25-year-old, who is the nephew of former Wigan Warriors ace Matty Bowen, emerged as a potential transfer target last week, but FC chief executive James Clark ruled out the potential move. He told League Weekly: “We haven’t got any cap space and quota players. I have watched him many times in the Queensland Cup but at this moment in time, it’s not something we are looking to pursue in terms of 2019.”

Walker set for Salford switch

Salford Red Devils are still expected to complete a deal to sign former St Helens, Hull KR and Wakefield Trinity prop Adam Walker when his drug ban ends later this year, report League Express.

The Scotland international is currently suspended from all forms of playing by UK anti-doping, having been suspended by the RFL in August 2017 following a failed test after Wakefield’s game against Widnes. League Express understands the Red Devils completed the deal some time ago.

Linnett: Hull KR can make top five

Hull KR’s new signing Kane Linnett believes Hull KR can pull off a few shocks in 2019 and even push for the Super League play-offs, report League Weekly.

The Scotland international, who joins them from North Queensland Cowboys, is confident the club can shine in Super League this year. He told League Weekly: “I feel that we can [make the play-offs]. We’ve signed some quality players and we’ve got a quality coach.”

Radlinski in support of Catalans in Cup dispute

Wigan’s rugby director Kris Radlinski admits he is dismayed by the ongoing saga surrounding the Challenge Cup and the possibility of the Catalans Dragons pulling out of the competition this season, report League Express.

The Dragons are refusing to pay a deposit of £500,000 to compete in the competition in 2019. Radlinski told League Express: “I find it absolutely staggering, if I’m honest. The boost it gave the game when they won the cup and the fact we’re playing them at the Nou Camp off the back of it is potentially one of the biggest things to happen in rugby league in the last decade.”

Clarkson on trial with Castleford

Former Hull Kingston Rovers back-rower Chris Clarkson is currently on trial with Castleford Tigers, report League Weekly.

The 28-year-old is currently a free agent after being released by Rovers at the end of last season. Clarkson came through the academy at Leeds Rhinos, where he played 118 games, before enjoying a spell on loan at Widnes Vikings. He then made 80 appearances for Hull KR between 2016 and 2018. Clarkson is hoping to earn a full-time deal with the Tigers.