Paper Talk: Man of Steel voting change, Wigan wait on forward, Toronto link up with Hull KR

We have had a look through this morning’s papers.

Man of Steel voting changed

Super League has unveiled its radical plans for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award in 2019, with a panel of former players and coaches set to take control of the voting process for the sport’s highest individual accolade, report League Express.

As part of Robert Elstone’s ambitious plans to revolutionise the image of Super League, the Man of Steel is set for an overhaul to try and make it a season-long process. And League Express reports that over a dozen ex-players and coaches have been approached to be part of a new-look panel.

This story has since been confirmed. Ellery Hanley is to chair a panel of former players and coaches.

Wigan to wait on new forward

Wigan coach Adrian Lam admits he will have to wait to add another prop to his squad, report League Weekly.

The Warriors boss still feels he’s one player short and had hoped to strengthen before the big Super League kick-off at St Helens next Thursday, but it is now unlikely to happen before the season starts. Lam told League Weekly: “It’s not unlikely to happen, but it may happen a little later that’s all. We’ve got a decent squad, but it’d be handy to pick up another middle – a front-rower – along the way.”

Catalans to compete in Challenge Cup

Catalans Dragons will play in the Challenge Cup again this season, with indications that the club has reached compromise with the RFL about the payment of a bond that the RFL had demanded in order for the club to compete in 2019, after their historic Wembley victory last year, report League Express.

The Dragons will still lodge a bond with the RFL, but it will be significantly reduced from the £500,000 the governing body had been demanding. League Express report the RFL is expected to confirm its decision this week, when it is also expected to announce a new Challenge Cup sponsor.

It has since been confirmed that Catalans will take part in the Challenge Cup, with bookmaker Coral becoming the new sponsor.

Toronto team up with Hull KR

Toronto Wolfpack and Hull Kingston Rovers have joined forces to stage a double header event in 2019, but the Wolfpack will not be playing in Belgrade this year, report League Express.

The clubs have agreed a deal which will see the Canadian club take on Batley at KCOM Craven Park on Sunday, March 17, while Rovers will host Catalans Dragons in Super League on the same day. The event is subject to RFL clearance, but both clubs are confident their plans will be approved by the governing body. League Express also report that Toronto’s proposed trip to Belgrade to face Red Star is now off, with their game against Sheffield Eagles set to be played at London Skolars’ New River Stadium on April 6. They will look to arrange the fixture for 2020.

New shot clock rule praised

Steve Ganson gave new shot clock rules the thumbs up after overseeing their latest introduction in Jonny Lomax’s testimonial at St Helens, report League Weekly.

A number of friendly fixtures had previously been adjudicated with the extra scrutiny on potential time wasting but without a shot clock on view. That changed for Saints’ hosting of Hull FC and head of referees Ganson, along with Phil Bentham, was there to view its effectiveness. Ganson told League Weekly: “It’s just about making the game better and I think we achieved everything we wanted. Everything went seamlessly. The scrums were quick and drop-outs happened well under time. Some drop-outs took two-minutes-20 last season, then you look at these and most were away by 20 seconds. It is exactly what the game needs and wants.”

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.

About Drew Darbyshire 8359 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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