Lots to be positive about in rugby league paper talk this week, with a new TV deal with Channel 4, the 2022 Super League fixture release and pre-season training continuing.
Channel 4 TV deal will boost Sky Sports
Hull owner Adam Pearson says the new Channel 4 deal will bring more subscribers to Sky Sports as viewers get a thirst for rugby league. (Yorkshire Post)
The new TV deal enabled a selection of games to be sold to a free-to-air broadcaster, announced as C4 earlier this week.
Pearson said: “It is great. With Channel 4 moving to Leeds as well it’s even better.
“Good on Sky as well for having the awareness and gratuity as a broadcaster to allow us to do it. I do think it will bring extra viewers to the Sky platform in return.”
New Wigan assistant impresses
Wigan’s Thomas Leuluai has been impressed by new assistant coach Lee Briers since the Warriors reported back for pre-season. (Wigan Today)
The veteran Kiwi half-back or hooker said: “I’ve been really impressed, I’ve really enjoyed his sessions. I knew he would be sound, but I’ve been very impressed with what he’s brought.”
St Helens hungry for more
St Helens centre Mark Percival says they are still hungry for success despite winning three Super League titles in a row. (The Mirror)
Saints will take on Catalans in a repeat of the 2021 Grand Final to open the new season.
He said: “We’ve just started back this week and everyone’s excited about it being a new year and new challenge.
“That’s what you find at this club – everyone wants to win that much that the hunger is always there even if we’ve won three in a row. Every lad in this group wants to keep that going now.”
The message is the same from Saints coach Kristian Woolf, who has been impressed by the new additions to his squad. (St Helens Star)
Saints have seen some squad turnover this off-season, with NRL trio Will Hopoate, Curis Sironen and Joey Lussick being joined by James Bell, Koran Hurrell and young Daniel Hill.
Departing the club have been James Bentley, Joel Thompson, Lachlan Coote, Kevin Naiqama and Theo Fages.
Woolf said: “Yes, really impressed with what they have done in the first couple of days and they have all obviously worked hard in the off season and come in in a really good condition and where we need them to be so that we can build on that for the pre-season.
“There is an exceptional skill level through the group as well. I have been happy with what I have seen so far.”
TV darlings Leeds
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington has conceded that two months without a home game in the middle of the season isn’t ideal. (Yorkshire Post)
He said: “It’s partly a pitch renovation, there’s four weeks for that, partly the international cricket and partly just how it has fallen.”
Meanwhile, Leeds’ class of 2022 are going to be familiar to most rugby league fans very quickly.
The Rhinos have been chosen for live television coverage eight times in the first 11 rounds. (Yorkshire Live)
Hull captaincy contender
Josh Griffin and Carlos Tuimavave are in the best shape amongst Hull’s squad, according to forward Andre Savelio. (Hull Daily Mail)
Griffin is believed to be a candidate for the Hull captaincy, alongside new recruit Luke Gale.
Savelio said: “When it comes to training, (Josh) is definitely [a role model], he trains the house down, he’s switched on to his rehab and recovery and he’s definitely front and centre in terms of he’s definitely the best trainer at the club.
“That’s evident with him being one of the oldest and him being in probably the best nick, barring maybe Carlos. It’s a credit to his hard work, dedication and consistency over the years.”
More paper talk
Support rugby league in the media and subscribe to League Express & Forty-20 magazine, 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. Rugby league paper talk appears on the site every Monday.