RL Today: Saints head Down Under, Odsal future & Hepi has surgery

Drew Darbyshire
Lewis Dodd St Helens Saints SWpix

Saints head Down Under

Super League champions Saints have jetted off to Australia ahead of their World Club Challenge showdown with their NRL counterparts Penrith Panthers on February 18.

Saints have won the last four Super League titles in a row, whilst the Panthers are back-to-back NRL premiers.

The World Club Challenge will be broadcast live on both Sky Sports and Channel 4 from the BlueBet Stadium.

It is the first World Club Challenge since 2020. Sydney Roosters defeated St Helens 20-12 at the Totally Wicked Stadium in that one.

Odsal future

Bradford Bulls will hold Odsal talks with Bradford Council and the Rugby Football League after their latest failed renovation bid. (Yorkshire Live)

The Government rejected a £50million proposal in their Levelling Up process.

Hepi undergoes surgery

Featherstone forward Tyla Hepi has undergone successful surgery on his ACL, the club have confirmed.

Hepi is not expected to play at all this season. The former Castleford star will be sidelined for six to nine months.

France international Kheirallah suffered a similar injury last season and has told Love Rugby League he is targeting the game against Sheffield on May 7 as a potential return date.

O’Brien set for Super League opportunity

Widnes have confirmed that performance manager Ryan O’Brien will leave the club at the end of the month to take up a coaching role at a Super League club.

The 29-year-old came through the academy at hometown club Widnes before going on to take up various coaching roles with the Vikings.

Tonga star commits to Parramatta

Tonga international Will Penisini has signed a new deal with Parramatta Eels that will see him stay at the NRL club until at least the end of 2025.

The 20-year-old played every single game for the Eels last season, including the Grand Final. He made his international debut for Tonga at last year’s World Cup.

Parramatta general manager of football Mark O’Neill said: “His selection in the Tongan squad for the World Cup is was a great reward for his outstanding performances during the season, there’s no doubt he has a bright future ahead of him at the Eels.”

Owens to captain Widnes again in 2023

Jack Owens will captain his hometown club Widnes again in the upcoming Championship season.

The 28-year-old is preparing to enter his ninth season with the Vikings. He has been skipper of his boyhood club since the 2020 campaign.

Owens said: “As a hometown lad, sitting in that North Stand watching Widnes, my dream was to play for Widnes, and now I’m doing that. I’m buzzing to be captain again, and hopefully I can do myself and the town proud.”


Former Hull, Crusaders, Wakefield, Huddersfield, London, Salford, St Helens and Hull KR hooker Tommy Lee turns 35 today (February 1).

Also celebrating; Ex-England and Wales forward Dean Busby (50), former Australia international Mat Rogers (47), Leeds half-back Blake Austin (32) and Cronulla hooker Cameron McInnes (29),


There has been a 214% growth in the numbers of girls teams since the RFL embarked on their current strategy in 2017.

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