Rumour Mill: Warrington interview Justin Holbrook, Willie Isa future latest & NRL forward offered to Super League clubs

Josh McAllister
This week's Rumour Mill includes the latest on Warrington's pursuit of Justin Holbrook and Willie Isa's Wigan Warriors future latest.

This week's Rumour Mill includes the latest on Warrington's pursuit of Justin Holbrook and Willie Isa's Wigan Warriors future latest.

This week’s Rumour Mill includes the latest on Warrington’s pursuit of Justin Holbrook, Willie Isa’s future latest and one named NRL forward has been offered to Super League clubs. 

Warrington meet with Justin Holbrook

Warrington Wolves have met with coach Justin Holbrook following the departure of Daryl Powell at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

That’s according to reports in Australia, with further claims that at least six clubs are chasing the Super League winning head coach.

The Daily Telegraph have reported that Holbrook was interviewed for the vacant Warrington role on Tuesday, but face competition for his services.

While Newcastle Knights bosses rejected reports linking the side to Holbrook, Canterbury Bulldogs are now said to be keen on the 47-year-old former Gold Coast Titans boss.

Holbrook won a Super League title with St Helens in 2019 before returning to Australia with the Titans, where he was sacked earlier this year due to results.

Willie Isa’s future

Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet has discussed the future of out-of-contract veteran back-rower Willie Isa.

The 34-year-old is one appearance away from 200 for the Warriors, having joined the club from Widnes in 2016.

He is without a deal beyond the current campaign, and is now likely to miss the rest of the season due to injury.

Speaking to Love Rugby League, Peet insists conversations are ongoing with the one-time Samoa international, although admits it’s about managing the salary cap, with Sam Walters, Tiaki Chan, Kruise Leeming and Adam Keighran signed up for 2024, while Tyler Dupree recently made the move from Salford.

“We know Willie enough and have a good enough relationship that communications are always open,” Peet told Love Rugby League. “We’ll just continue to talk to Willie on a weekly basis.

“It’s about managing the salary cap, the players who are reaching certain ages and making room for our players coming through our pathways, just like all the rest of our decisions.

“Like I say, we have a good relationship with Willie. He’s a leader here and has been for some time, so discussions are very live.”

Blake Austin to Featherstone?

Featherstone Rovers have launched a move for off-contract Leeds Rhinos star Blake Austin, according to Examiner Live’s Matt Shaw.

Sean Long’s side are eyeing up promotion to Super League for the first time, having lost just one game all campaign so far in 2023 with 19 wins from 20 to sit at the top of the Championship table.

Austin, 32, remains without a deal at Headingley Stadium and has made no secret of his contract negotiations.

Hull FC set to lose out on NRL target

Hull look set to lose out on NRL target Connor Watson, with Canterbury Bulldogs general manager Phil Gould confirming his interest for the out-of-contract Sydney Roosters utility.

As previously reported by Hull Live, the Black & Whites had tabled an offer for the 27-year-old, who has made 125 NRL appearances to date.

Gould confirmed that he has held discussions with the player, who has also represented Newcastle Knights in Australia.

Meanwhile, Tony Smith faces competition for half-back Adam Clune, with Leeds Rhinos entering the race for the off-contract Australian. (Hull Live)

Jake Clifford’s return to the NRL has now been confirmed by North Queensland Cowboys, with 28-year-old Clune identified as a top target for his replacement at the MKM Stadium.

The Rhinos however have entered the mix, with playmaker Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin without deals beyond 2023.

NRL forward offered to Super League clubs 

Gold Coast Titans back-rower Joseph Vuna has been offered to Super League clubs, according to Examiner Live

The 24-year-old made his professional debut with New Zealand Warriors in 2018, and later linked up with the Titans in 2021.

He has made 14 appearances in the NRL to date, scoring one try, having spent 644 days on the sidelines due to a career-halting knee injury. 

Salford Red Devils confident on Ryan Brierley

Salford Red Devils are confident in retaining full-back Ryan Brierley, despite interest from two rival Super League clubs.

The Scotland international has a contract through until 2025, but Salford are previously known for selling their best players, including the recent transfer of Tyler Dupree to Wigan Warriors.

Despite the interest, Love Rugby League’s George Riley has reported that the Red Devils are confident on the future of Brierley.

Deon Cross, Shane Wright, Ken Sio and King Vuniyayawa are among Salford’s first-teamers currently without a contract for next season.

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