Paper Talk: Leeds make Connor bid, Wigan turn to Smith, Koukash slams North American bids

W’ve had a scan through the Easter Monday editions of League Express and League Weekly.

Leeds made huge offer for Connor

Leeds Rhinos have seen their hopes signing Jake Connor emphatically dismissed by Hull FC after the Rhinos plotted a move for the England star, report League Express.

The Rhinos were willing to make a huge offer for the Black and Whites half-back, only for Hull to strongly reiterate that their prize asset was not for sale at any price, according to League Express. A number of sources have told the paper the Rhinos officially made a bid, thought to be in the region of £500,000, although contacts around Hull insist Leeds didn’t pursue their bid after the club firmly knocked back the prospect of a possible deal.

Wigan look to Smith

The big buzz around the inter sanctum of the DW Stadium on Good Friday afternoon was that Tony Smith is in the frame to coach Wigan Warriors next season, report League Weekly.

Not writing off Trent Barrett whose name has been circulating in Australia and here for the past two weeks, but the name on the lips of those who matter in the Warriors’ camp is that of Smith. The former Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants boss is currently working as a coaching and training consultant with the FA at their St George’s establishment at Burton-on-Trent. League Weekly claim there was no clarity coming forth where Adrian Lam stood in all of this, but Smith could be seen as a director of rugby and aid support to the Papua New Guinean.

Fitzpatrick: Super League should not entertain Folau

Warrington Wolves chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick thinks Super League should refuse the registration of Israel Folau if any club tries to sign the controversial Australian, report League Express.

Fitzpatrick insists the Wire have absolutely no interest in entertaining a move for Folau, who is facing an uncertain future following Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate his contract after a series of homophobic social media posts. Fitzpatrick told League Express: “His beliefs and values are polar opposite to ours at Warrington Wolves. Super League should not entertain him and, should it occur, it refuse any requested registration.”

Koukash slams New York and Ottawa bids

Marwan Koukash says expansion in New York and Ottawa is ‘pie in the sky’ – and rugby league should instead look to target big UK cities, report League Weekly.

Koukash, who is planning on bringing a Liverpool club into the RFL ranks, insists the game would be better served branching out into bigger markets closer to home. On the New York and Ottawa bids, he told League Weekly: “It is pie in the sky, I don’t believe in it. I think what we should be doing is encouraging UK city brands to come the sport. I’m working hard on creating a rugby club in Liverpool and hopefully that will happen.”

League 1 club in race for Chase

Doncaster are among the front-runners to acquire the signature of Range Chase, upon his return from a drugs ban in July, report League Express.

The 33-year-old was announced as a Cutsyke Raiders player earlier this month but already has professional clubs circling to sign him before his ban is up. League Express also suggest Papua New Guinea internationals Garry Lo, who currently plays for French side Carcassonne, and Featherstone Rovers ace Watson Boas have also emerged as potential targets for the Dons.

Super League ‘needs’ Nines events

Marwan Koukash believes Super League is ‘missing a trick’ by failing to promote major Nines events, report League Weekly.

The former Salford Red Devils owner argues the short-form of the game could be the sport’s answer to Sevens or Twenty20 cricket. The inaugural World Cup Nines is set to be staged at Sydney’s new Bank West Stadium this October and the NRL is also on the verge of bringing back its Nines tournament. Koukash believes Super League should look into the concept, he told League Weekly: “It’s a short game and there’s a lot of razzamatazz around it. Maybe this is what rugby league needs to do… introduce a Nines competition with a lot of other entertainment around it.”

Support rugby league in the media and subscribe to League Express or League Weekly, as well as checking out the regular coverage of the sport in The Mirror, The Sun, The Guardian and other national newspapers; the more you read, the more there’ll be.

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