There’s a boost for the prospects of the World Club Challenge going ahead in 2022 in this week’s rugby league paper talk.
Stadium boost for Castleford and Wakefield
A £6m funding pot could be set up to help support Castleford, Featherstone and Wakefield. (Wakefield Express)
The fund would help the clubs meet the RFL’s conditions on stadium facilities, as well as improving community use.
Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Denise Jeffery said: “This district’s long and passionate history of rugby league is well documented. My Cabinet colleagues and I, are extremely proud of this heritage and fully support the important part rugby league plays in this district.
“I know full well that there are strong allegiances to all three clubs and the desire for all our rugby league clubs to thrive at the highest level is something we absolutely want to see.”
Progress for “embarrassing” Belle Vue
Wakefield chairman John Minards admits their lack of progress on stadium development has been embarrassing. (League Express)
He said: “The decline of Belle Vue over a long period and the unfulfilled promises of a new stadium, have been embarrassing for the club adn the city. We have been the butt of comments from visiting supporters, which have been unpleasant to hear, but they have been correct. I’m confident now that we will soon be turning the tide.”
A planning application for improvements to Belle Vue is due to be heard by a local planning committee in December.
Transfer window in the NRL?
There are increasing calls for a review to the transfer system in the NRL in light of Viliame Kikau’s shock move from Penrith to Canterbury. (Canberra Times)
Kikau will play out the final year of his contract with the Panthers before moving for 2023, which is permitted under the current rules which allows players to speak to other clubs when they have 12 months left to run on their contract.
Former Australia forward Billy Moore said: “Anyone who looks into the fish bowl that is rugby league sees that contracts have become meaningless.
“There is no other sport in the world where people sign a contract the best part of a year in advance and then play out their current contract.
“It’s a fallacy to say when the (contract’s final) season ends you can’t go find a new club and move your family if you need to.”
One suggestion is to have a designated transfer window, to replicate the success and attention it gets in football.
World Club Challenge in Australia?
Penrith chief Brian Fletcher has ruled out a trip to England for the World Club Challenge, but says they would be happy to host St Helens Down Under. (Sydney Morning Herald)
He said: “If St Helens want to come out here and play us, it would be great. We’d pack the stadium out, for sure. Australia’s vaccination rate would also be more than 95 per cent by that stage.
“It’s an important game and you’d love to see it played.”
Cust leaves Manly door open
New Wigan half-back Cade Cust could return to the NRL with Manly Sea Eagles, after revealing an agreement in his deal. (Manchester Evening News)
Just as the Warriors have done with several of their stars that have moved in the other direction, Manly have first refusal on Cust if and when he returns.
He said: “That will be good and then if I return to the NRL, Manly will have the first opportunity negotiate a deal.
“I love Manly. It’s where I’ve grown up playing through the juniors and that’s always there if I do come back to the NRL and hopefully we can sort that out in the future. It’s a door I won’t close because I love the club.”
Naiqama close to Roosters
Newspapers in Fiji are reporting that Kevin Naiqama is off to Sydney Roosters in the NRL. (Fiji Times)
The centre had previously announced his retirement following a decorated three-year stint with St Helens.
But he hinted in the Super League Grand Final press conference that he could be tempted to change his mind, with his priority at that time getting his family home.
Playing on would enable Naiqama to captain Fiji at the re-arranged World Cup at the end of 2022.
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