Penrith’s Samoan contingent
Five players who are likely to play for Samoa at the World Cup – Jarome Luai, Izack Tago, Stephen Crichton, Spencer Leniu and Brian To’o – helped Penrith Panthers claim the NRL Premiership for the second year in a row yesterday.
The Panthers eased past Parramatta Eels 28-12 in front of a sold-out 82,000-strong crowd at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Charlie Staines is another Samoa international for Penrith, although he has withdrawn from the World Cup as he prepares to become a father for the first time.
Halton’s love for Ireland
Hull KR forward Frankie Halton says it’s a privilege to represent Ireland at his first World Cup. (Hull Live)
The 26-year-old qualifies to play for Ireland through his mother’s side of the family. He told Hull Live: “My mum had such a strong bond with my grandad, who was born and lived in Ireland, who sadly isn’t here anymore. I have fond memories of him from my childhood, and my heritage means a lot to me.”
Martin’s World Cup prediction
Papua New Guinea international Rhyse Martin reckons there could be a different name on the World Cup this year. (Yorkshire Evening Post)
The Leeds forward told the YEP: “I think it is going to be a bit different to what we’ve seen in the last few years and we might see a different winner. Some of the nations are looking quite strong this year so who knows who will win?”
Hull star in Fiji squad
Hull centre Mitieli Vulikijapani has been called up to the Fiji national side ahead of the World Cup (Hull Live)
However, hooker Joe Lovodua (PCL) and prop Kane Evans (knee) won’t play a part for Fiji at this autumn’s tournament.
Rochdale forward Joe Taira is poised to make his international debut for Fiji in their World Cup warm-up against England at Salford on Friday. He will provide cover for players who featured in the NRL Grand Final yesterday.
Panthers ace makes Tonga squad
Penrith Panthers youngster Soni Luke has revealed he has been selected in Kristian Woolf’s Tonga squad for the World Cup. (NRL)
The 26-year-old hooker made his international debut for Tonga in the mid-season defeat to New Zealand.
He told NRL.com: “It is awesome. Obviously, my parents are really proud and I have a lot of family over in Tonga so they are really excited.”
Williams backed to shine
Great Britain and England legend Jamie Peacock has backed Warrington half-back George Williams to shine at the World Cup. (Mirror)
In his column for the Mirror, Peacock wrote: “George Williams has had his critics this year but he’s one of those players that, the bigger game and the bigger occasion, generally he stands up. That’s what makes him a quality player; he’s a competitor and I think we’ll see the best of him in the World Cup for England.
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy turns 63 today (October 4).
Also celebrating; former NRL coach Anthony Seibold (48), ex-Castleford winger Waine Pryce (41), former Featherstone utility Tommy Saxton (39), ex-Warrington speedster Kevin Penny (35), former Salford prop Adam Walne (32), Parramatta’s Fijian flier Maika Sivo (29), Samoa international Jaxson Paulo (23) and France’s rising star César Rougé (20).
2023 will be Leigh’s fourth season in Super League, having played in 2005, 2017 and 2021, suffering relegation in all three seasons.