What is the future of the Ottawa Aces? What is the latest on academy funding? Which club is keen on signing Krisnan Inu? Find out in the gossip column…
Leigh recruitment drive
Leigh are stepping up their recruitment drive following the appointment of Chris Chester as head of rugby, and are being linked with Ata Hingano and Jy Hitchcox. Meanwhile, former London coach Danny Ward is being linked with the vacant head coach role, with Kurt Haggerty not in the running and apparently off to join Paul Rowley at Salford.
Tim Sheens could still be in charge of the Combined Nations All Stars when they take on England again in next year’s mid-season international. The Australian had been due to return home to take up a role with Wests Tigers, but remains in the UK and could delay his return to the NRL for another 12 months.
World Club Challenge update
The World Club Challenge is unlikely to happen in 2022, as the COVID pandemic continues to provide challenges for global sport. Off the back of Australia and New Zealand’s refusal to travel for the World Cup, the logistics are still weighed against having Penrith come over to play St Helens. Plans to expand the competition are on the table in future years, with countries in the Middle East having already expressed an interest in holding games.
Ottawa Aces are set to join League 1 in 2022, having deferred their entry by a year, but will play all their games in the UK. The Aces have the trump card of RFL membership, and it is rumoured they will use Bradford’s Odsal Stadium as a base. It would take the number of teams in the third tier up to 11.
League 1 uncertainty
League 1 clubs are frustrated at the uncertainty hanging over their competition for next season. Having seen their central funding slashed significantly, they are still waiting to learn on the format and structure of the competition and whether any promotion will be at stake. There are concerns at some clubs that some of their rivals may not be able to make the starting line-up for 2022, however RFL sources say they have had no indication from any of the current 10 clubs that they will be withdrawing.
Samoan star linked with England move
Super League clubs have reportedly been offered Samoan utility back Richard Kennar. The 26-year-old has scored 12 tries in 31 NRL appearances for Melbourne Storm, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Brisbane Broncos. (Yorkshire Live)
France return for Inu?
Former New Zealand and Samoa international Krisnan Inu could be set for a return to France with Lezignan. The 34-year-old centre left Salford upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season and is currently a free agent. Inu could link up with Sam Moa, Antoni Maria and James Maloney at Lezignan, with the French club believed to be keen on signing him.
Academy funding cuts
Academy funding is being completely cut from 2022. Some clubs have already started to reach out to fans and sponsors stating that their academy must become self-financing with no help from the RFL or Super League. Although Super League still hold the purse strings due to the broadcast deal, they have refused to comment – instead passing the buck on to the RFL. It is another example of an issue getting stuck between the dual governance in rugby league at present.
NRL forward offered to Super League clubs
Cronulla Sharks forward Billy Magoulias has been offered to Super League clubs ahead of the 2022 campaign. The 24-year-old played 11 games for the Sharks in 2021 and has won three caps for Greece at international level. (Leeds Live)