Rugby League Today: Watkins available, Last’s tribute and birthday weekend

A cardboard cut out of Boris Johnson Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party is on display at the Halliwell Jones Stadium for the 125th anniversary of rugby league

What’s on site

Kallum Watkins was a guest on Sky Sports’ coverage on Sunday, and he made a pretty public come and get me plea to Super League clubs, with Toronto having given all their players permission to look elsewhere.

We’ve got all the reaction from the weekend’s games.

Steve Price says there’s still a lot more to come from the Blake Austin and Gareth Widdop partnership, after Austin’s hat-trick in the 36-0 win over Wakefield.

Hull coach Andy Last paid tribute to the club’s medical and physical staff for their response to the COVID-19 outbreak, after he guided the Airlie Birds to their first Super League win since he took over.

St Helens kept up the pressure on Wigan at the top of Super League with a win over Hull KR.

In probably the least surprising official announcement of all time, Castleford have signed Niall Evalds from Salford for 2021 – interesting timing though, as the two sides meet on Thursday.

It capped off a disappointing weekend for Salford fans, who saw their team soundly beaten by Leeds on Saturday night, and suffered a number of injuries in the process.

Daryl Powell was unhappy with the Morgan Smithies crusher tackle that ended James Clare’s afternoon in Castleford’s defeat to league leaders Wigan.

Wigan coach Adrian Lam was a very happy man after that win, and reserved praise for Liam Farrell and man of the match Ethan Havard, after the youngster played the full 80 minutes in only his third start for the club.

What’s on social

Happy birthday to rugby league over the weekend, thanks for everything.

It was marked by a special event at The George Hotel in Huddersfield.

The Willows in match stick form. Marvellous.

This answer will probably be needed quite a lot this week.

Makes you wonder how many people are turning their back on rugby league.

 

What’s in the papers

The story of rugby’s great split, as told in The Mirror.

Rugby league has to go international to stay relevant, according to this long piece on Forbes.

Kevin Brown has opened up about concerns over the impact of concussion on his future after the game, talking to the Daily Star.

Birthdays

Fearsome Samoan prop Vila Matautia, once of Doncaster, St Helens and Leigh, is 51 today (August 31)

Also celebrating: recently retired New South Wales half-back Trent Hodkinson (32); ex-Wakefield hooker Tyler Randell (28); old London Bronco Matt Gafa (42).

What’s on TV/radio

11.55pm – Super League Show – BBC One (northern monkeys only).

Trivia

The Rochdale Hornets – one of the 22 founder rugby league clubs – moniker dates back to 1871.

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