Rugby League Gossip Column: July 14

Ray Mour
rugby league gossip

Here’s what’s been flying round in rugby league circles this week.

It’s looking more and more like a mini re-build at St Helens, with Fijian Kevin Naiqama and prop Kyle Amor potentially following others through the exit door at the end of the season. With Lachlan Coote and James Bentley already moving elsewhere, Theo Fages expected to sign for Huddersfield, and the retirement of Joel Thompson, Saints could be looking to replace at least six first teamers, and that’s without considerations over what James Roby, who turns 36 at the end of the season, will do at the end of the season.

A mischievous rumour reaching us from Hull was that St Helens were interested in Rovers half-back Jordan Abdull to fill the void left by Theo Fages, but he signed a new three-year deal to remain at Craven Park back in May.

Give me a W

Gareth Widdop has been in fine form for Warrington this season

Gareth Widdop will be a Warrington player in 2022, playing alongside new signing George Williams. Widdop has been heavily linked to the NRL for the past 12 months, but Wolves chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick has confirmed he will be staying at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, which presumably spells the end of Blake Austin’s time at the club. (Warrington Guardian)

Huddersfield are trying to snare Warrington prop Chris Hill to the John Smith’s Stadium for next season. The 33-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, though the Wolves have offered him a new deal to extend his 10 season stay at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. (League Express)

Another forward that could be on his way to Huddersfield is Hull prop Brad Fash, who is out of contract at the end of the year, as Ian Watson continues to put his stamp on the Giants squad.

Wembley woe

Hull KR bound Frankie Halton is set to miss Featherstone’s Wembley date with York on Saturday, due to the RFL’s return to play protocol. Halton has been sidelined after being forced to isolate due to COVID, but despite coming out of the 10 day Government requirement, the rules state he cannot play for a further seven days, meaning he won’t be able to play in the 1895 Cup final.

Former Wigan marquee prop George Burgess is being lined up for a return to the NRL with St George-Illawarra Dragons. The England international joined Wigan on a three-year deal from South Sydney ahead of the 2020 season but only made eight appearances. He hasn’t ruled out a return to the DW Stadium either. (League Express)

George Burgess made eight appearances for Wigan in 2020

A bum deal

Banned Huddersfield forward Kenny Edwards, currently serving a 10-match suspension for putting his finger up the bum of an opponent, is set to join Castleford on loan for the 2022 season. Giants coach Ian Watson said: “There’s only so many times that people can be given a chance and they don’t learn lessons from what’s happened before in their career.” (Yorkshire Live)

Gold Coast Titans utility Tyrone Peachey has expressed an interest in moving to Super League, with no shortage of suitors. His uncle is former Cronulla full-back David Peachey, who had a brief spell with Widnes in 2006. (Yorkshire Live)

Melbourne legend Billy Slater was offered the Queensland State of Origin job and then ghosted by Queensland Rugby League, it has been alleged down under. Reports are he was verbally offered the job, accepted it, and then heard nothing for a month. Paul Green was eventually appointed as coach. (Fox Sports)

Heard a rumour? Tip us off via our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram channels.