Paper Talk: Structure change, England Knights to PNG, Hardaker future

There are several juicy stories in the latest papers.

Doncaster boss slams Super League

Doncaster chief executive Carl Hall has insisted Super League clubs’ desire for change is down to the fact they are terrified of being caught up by the game’s ambitious sides outside the top flight, as all 38 professional clubs prepare to sit down together for the first time this year on Monday, report League Express.

No decision has been made of the league structure yet though. Hall told League Express: “The Super League clubs are scared stiff about the Super 8s this year, because there could be three, or even four, Championship clubs who could realistically take their spots at the big table and they’re terrified.”

England Knights set to tour Papua New Guinea

England Knights are set to tour Papua New Guinea as part of a Test series against the Kumuls, claim League Express.

The RFL is finalising the details for an end-of-season tour that will see Paul Anderson’s Knights go up against Papua New Guinea in a two-Test series in two of the country’s biggest cities, Lae and Port Moresby, claim League Express.

St Helens staying grounded

Jonny Lomax says St Helens are staying grounded and are still looking to improve, despite being top of Super League following another thrilling win over Salford, report League Express.

England international Lomax told League Express: “We are going well, but if we rest on our laurels then we can easily be knocked off. The table looks great for us now, but Wigan are going great as well. We have to keep trying to get better because they could knock us off the top.”

Denver curtain-raiser scrapped

A Test match between the United States and Canada to be held in Denver before England take on New Zealand in June has been canned because of financial issues, claim League Weekly.

USA were expected to face Canada as a curtain-raiser for England’s clash with New Zealand at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, but it won’t go ahead because the USA Rugby League are struggling with money problems.

RFL will not take action on Kelly

Albert Kelly will not be facing action from the Rugby Football League over his foul-mouthed tirade at a woman in McDonald’s, claim League Weekly.

The Hull FC half-back was caught on film calling a woman a ‘sl*t’, a ‘b**ch and a ‘little wh***’ during a rant on a night out. The RFL have refrained from making a public comment on the matter, but a Red Hall official confirmed to League Weekly that the governing body was happy to let Hull FC handle it themselves.

Hardaker could return in January

Full-back Zak Hardaker could be back in action as early as January, report League Weekly.

Dave Parker claims in his column for League Weekly that last Thursday, Hardaker was handed a 14-month ban for failing a random drugs test. If the ban is backdated to October 2017, then Hardaker could be in a Wigan shirt for the start of next season. There has been no formal word on Hardaker’s fate yet, though.

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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