Paper Talk: Whitley to Saints, Ikahihifo offered to clubs, Super League rules changes

Drew Darbyshire

We have had a look through the latest papers.

Whitley to become a Saint

Matt Whitley’s move from Widnes Vikings to St Helens ahead of next season is all but done, report League Weekly.

The 22-year-old signed a three-year contract extension with the Vikings in April but his contract will be deemed null after it was confirmed that Widnes will be relegated come the end of The Qualifiers. Whitley used to be at Saints in the scholarship system but made the switch to the Vikings in the Under-19s.

King has unfinished business at Warrington

George King is determined to go out on a high at Warrington ahead of his move to Wakefield next year, report League Express.

The Wolves confirmed that he would leave the club at the end of the season last week and he is determined to go out on a high. He told League Express: “When it comes to May or June in the last year of you contract, clubs start contacting you and I made it clear to Steve (Price) that I am ready for a change of environment and he was really good about it. He just asked me if I could still give it my all this year and I said of course. I’m going to do my all for the team and I want to go out on a high.”

Drinkwater filthy over Catalans exit

Josh Drinkwater has opened up about his surprising departure from Catalans – admitting he’s angry to have been shown the door after helping them make history in the Challenge Cup, report League Weekly.

The 26-year-old arrived in Perpignan midway through the season and has impressed during his time with the Dragons but he has not been offered a new deal for next term. He told League Weekly: “I’m pretty filthy to be honest, I think I’ve done a good job since I came here and was keen to stay, but obviously they had (Matty) Smith coming in already. I don’t know what I’m going to do now, I thought I was going to be staying at Catalans to be honest.”

Ikahihifo offered to clubs

Huddersfield Giants front-rower Sebastine Ikahihifo has emerged as a potential pick-up after being offered around to other clubs, report League Express.

The blockbusting forward, who was included in last year’s Super League Dream Team, has been offered to a few Super League clubs, League Express has learned. It appears that the Giants would allow him to leave the club if the price was right.

New York want to know future

The consortium bidding to launch a team in New York hope the end for rugby league’s ‘civil war’ can clear the path for them to enter the league in 2020, report League Weekly.

The Super 8s structure row in recent months put the North American expansion plan on the back-burner but New York RL co-founder Ricky Wilby wants to know their future now. He told League Weekly: “I appreciate the RFL have had a massive upheaval, with the change of structure at the top and with everything that has been going on between the clubs. But now that has all been sorted we need to know – one way or another – so that we can start planning.”

Super League could reduce amount of subs

Super League clubs met last week to discuss the future of the competition moving forward – where proposals including the number of interchanges and a formula for loop fixtures were high on the agenda, report League Express.

Plans to reduce the number of interchanges from ten down to eight was discussed, with sources telling League Express that although they weren’t completely signed off, there was a feeling the plans could be implemented in time for next season.

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