RL Today: Fiji international finds new club, latest on Mansour & Leilua returns home

Brandon Wakeham Fiji Rugby League World Cup. PA Images

Fiji international finds new club

Fiji international Brandon Wakeham has joined Wests Tigers ahead of the 2023 NRL campaign. (Code Sports

The 24-year-old half-back left Canterbury Bulldogs at the end of last season, before going on to represent Fiji at the delayed 2021 World Cup in England.

He has made 25 appearances in the NRL to date.

Josh Mansour’s Super League move off

Despite interest to play in Super League, it would appear Josh Mansour’s search for a club in England is off due to the expected arrival of his third child. (Examiner Live)

The Lebanon international winger had expressed an interest in playing in England during the recent World Cup campaign.

He told SEN Radio earlier this week: “I experienced the country and the culture and I really enjoyed it.

“I convinced my partner to pack up our bags, head over and seek a new challenge.

“However, with a third child on the way, that kind of threw a bit of a curveball at us. I think I have to put that aside. I have to stay in Australia and stay close to family.”

USA’s bid to ensure NRL season goes on

USA Championship Rugby League players have offered their services to the NRL if required to help the season kick-off on time. (Fox Sports

Strike action is still a possibility for NRL players amid the ongoing collective bargaining agreement.

The organisation’s boss Tom Stevenson told News Corp: “I have spoken with our players today and we have 160 ready to go to Australia if the NRL players go on strike.

“Today, I reached out to the coaches to get confirmation before calling Peter V’landys and all our coaches said their players would drop everything and be on the next flight over to Australia.”

Gil Dudson free to play

Warrington’s new recruit Gil Dudson is free to make his debut for the club during pre-season despite concerns of his suspension picked up last season. (Warrington Guardian)

The forward had received a three-match ban in his final game for Catalans. However, that ban has been served during the World Cup, having missed out on John Kear’s Welsh squad due to the suspension.

Leilua returns home following mother’s passing

Featherstone star Joey Leilua has returned to Australia for a short period of time following the passing of his mother.

Everyone at Love Rugby League sends their condolences to the Leilua family. 

Leeds injury latest

Rohan Smith has provided an injury update on youngster Corey Johnson, who is yet to feature for the club during pre-season. (Yorkshire Evening Post)

The Leeds boss told Yorkshire Evening Post: “Corey had back surgery in September or October.

“I don’t know the exact term, but he had a sort of disc repair in his lower back. He is almost in full training. He is still getting monitored a little bit, but he is basically doing all the training.”

Birthdays

Australian rugby league broadcaster and Canterbury Bulldogs general manager, and formerly a player and coach, Phil Gould turns 65 today (January 24).

Also celebrating; Former NRL, Super League and Australia centre Jamie Lyon (41), ex-prop forward Dan Tilse (38), Castleford’s Albert Vete (30), Sheffield hooker Vila Halafihi (29), Hull forward Brad Fash (27) and Italy international Anton Iaria (27).

Trivia

Toulouse confirmed their 2023 Championship squad on Monday – with only 19 players confirmed so far.

About Josh McAllister 2281 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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