Gossip: All Stars latest, ref crisis & Ian Watson to NRL?

England Shaun Wane and Ellery Hanley Combined Nations All Stars SWpix
Photo: Simon Wilkinson / SWpix

This week’s rugby league gossip column features some of the latest on the Combined Nations All Stars, a referee crisis and Ian Watson’s links to the NRL.

All Stars latest

Leigh half-back Ata Hingano was due to be a part of the Combined Nations All Stars squad, but he picked up a knock in Monday’s win over Featherstone so he won’t be in action this weekend.

Love Rugby League initially reported that Centurions pair Blake Ferugson and Tom Amone had been approached by the All Stars, something that club owner Derek Beaumont later came out and strongly denied.

Beaumont confirmed that in-form forward John Asiata was approached by the All Stars after the Featherstone game, but he had already booked a holiday with his family and hadn’t been approached prior to that.

The All Stars will be wearing a Tonga tribute shirt and raising funds for victims of the tsunami in the country over the New Year.

Leigh will have three players on representative duty this weekend. Luis Roberts has named in Wales’ squad to play France, whilst Keanan Brand and Ed Chamberlain will attend a training camp with Ireland.

Watson to the NRL

The rumour mill Down Under has linked Huddersfield coach Ian Watson with three head coach roles in the NRL.

The Mole reports that highly-rated Watson is on the radar of New Zealand Warriors, Wests Tigers and Canterbury Bulldogs.

All three clubs are on the hunt for a new man at the helm.

Taylor exit

Kiwi back-rower Elijah Taylor’s future likely lies away from Salford.

The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, but has not been offered a new deal.

He has made 29 appearances since arriving at the start of 2021.

Last month, Taylor expressed an interest in staying, though coach Paul Rowley refused to be drawn in to commenting on his future.

MORE: Off-contract Salford captain Elijah Taylor discusses future

Ref crisis?

A shortage of match officials is causing severe disruption to the community game.

Half of the scheduled games in the Yorkshire Men’s League this weekend are under threat due to a lack of referees.

There are only 18 available match officials for Saturday afternoon, with 37 games to cover.

Clubs have been asked if they can move games to midweek or Friday night to help with the situation.

Without a referee, games cannot go ahead due to insurance.

MORE: The referee drain: does rugby league have a match officials crisis?

Magoulias next step

Billy Magoulias has returned to Australia following his release from Warrington on compassionate grounds.

His next move is unclear, though Toulouse were understood to have been interested in signing him for 2023.

The forward would likely be the lynchpin for Greece at the World Cup later this year, and did have an additional year option on his Wolves deal before his release.

Heard any rugby league gossip? Let us know in the comments below.

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