RL Today: NRL cancels season launch & Escobar’s son heading to Featherstone

Josh McAllister
Penrith Panthers World Club Challenge. NRL. PA

NRL cancels season launch

The NRL has cancelled its season launch due to ongoing negotiations with the players for a collective bargaining agreement. (The Sydney Morning Herald).

NRL clubs were informed of the decision on Tuesday. Each club traditionally send their captain and a senior player to the launch.

“Due to the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations, the NRL will not hold a season launch function this Thursday as originally planned,” the NRL said in a statement.

“The NRL remains focussed on making positive progress regarding the joint NRL and NRLW agreements.”

Bateman tipped to hit the ground running

John Bateman has been tipped to make an immediate impact upon his return to the NRL by former dual-international winger Lote Tuqiri. (NRL.com)

Bateman, 29, finally received visa approval to travel to Australia following his four-year deal with Wests Tigers, signed earlier in December

Escobar’s son heading to Fev

Roberto Sendoya Escobar, son of notorious criminal Pablo Escobar, will be at Featherstone as part of his tour of the UK later this year. (Yorkshire Live)

The Championship club themselves are helping promote the event, recently tweeting: “Hear tales from the son of one of the most notorious criminals of all time as The Son of Escobar comes to The Millennium Stadium!”

Tickets are priced at £30 for the event in April.

Grand Final winner joins York Valkyrie

Two-time Women’s Super League winner Aimee Staveley has switched Leeds for York Valkyrie ahead of the 2023 campaign.

She has spent five seasons at Leeds, also winning the League Leaders’ Shield and the Challenge Cup twice. The 33-year-old has appeared in three Super League Grand Finals and three Challenge Cup finals. 

Challenge Cup third round draw

The draw for the third round of the Challenge Cup will take place on Monday, February 27. It will be held at Featherstone’s Millennium Stadium.

The draw will be broadcast on BBC Sport and iPlayer from 6:00pm.

St Helens boss relaxed about NRL interest in stars

Saints head coach Paul Wellens remains relaxed about the future of his star players following their World Club Challenge triumph over Penrith in Australia. (St Helens Star)

Jack Welsby in particular caught the attention of fans Down Under with a man of the match display. The full-back scored the fixture’s first try and assisted his side’s other.

Wellens told the St Helens Star: “As a club we are in a position where we’re winning year-on-year and have now gone out to Australia and performed really well.

“Hopefully you don’t need to see Jack Welsby go out to Australia and do well to know he’s an excellent player.”


Former Warrington, Wakefield, Rochdale and England Knights winger Chris Riley turns 35 today (February 22).

Also celebrating: Former Super League and NRL half-back Robert Lui (33), Dewsbury winger Perry Whiteley (30), prop forward Frazer Morris (26), Workington back-rower Caine Barnes (24), Newcastle’s Jake Lightowler (24) and Widnes centre Joe Edge (23).


Jordan Thompson needs one appearance to reach 300 for his career. His York side host Barrow in Round Four of the Championship season.

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