Super League strategy time, Headingley renamed & League 1’s new brand

Emerald Headingley will be renamed

It’s been a busy few weeks for Leeds chief Gary Hetherington at Headingley.

Running Super League

Leeds chief Gary Hetherington believes it can be third time lucky for Super League’s governance, as they look to re-align with the RFL. The competition has twice split from the RFL, initially in 1996, and then in recent years. It was previously brought back together under an independent board by Richard Lewis.

Hetherington told the Yorkshire Post: “Our sport is basically governed by the clubs themselves. Robert Elstone’s job was impossible to do – unless you have a common motivation by the owners themselves.

“The reality is that we never had a strategic plan: things emerged, things developed.

“So, whilst a lot of other good things have happened – certainly facilities development is probably the main one – as a sport, we’ve never had that strategic plan.

“This is something we now have the opportunity to put in place.”

Given his success at Leeds over the past 25 years, Hetherington deserves to be listened to more so than most.

Widdop back home

More speculation from Down Under surrounding Gareth Widdop, who is back in Australia to spend time with family in the off-season.

Mischievous Australian journalists have been stirring the pot suggesting that the England international might have meets with NRL clubs while he’s there.

The same rumours persisted throughout last winter, with Widdop ultimately reported to be unable to find a taker.

He decided to stay at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, and put in a much improved season in 2021.

Headingley renamed

Leeds have been unwittingly caught up in the racism row currently engrossing their stadium partners, Yorkshire Cricket Club.

Sponsors have started to withdraw their support for the cricket in light of their failures in dealing with a racism scandal, that is starting to attract attention of senior MPs.

Emerald revealed on Wednesday that they would be withdrawing their brand from the stadium naming rights at Headingley.

In a statement, they said: “We have taken the decision to remove our brand association with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Headingley Stadium.

“We do not tolerate any form of racism or discriminatory behaviour and the damaging effects this has.

“Our intention remains to continue a financial commitment to the stadium itself, which is also the home of Leeds Rhinos rugby, as we believe this supports the aims of diversity and inclusion in sport along with a range of charitable community endeavours.”

Cornwall chatter

The surprise introduction of Cornwall to the professional rugby league set-up is sure to dominate headlines over the coming weeks and months.

They’ll have a team to build, and they still have to gain the support of other League 1 clubs, unhappy at the new travelling costs facing them.

Eric Perez outlines three bold goals for rugby league newcomers Cornwall

Another new name

As well as Cornwall, there will be another new name in League 1 for 2022.

Coventry Bears have made the decision to rebrand as Midlands Hurricanes, in a bid to attract attention and support from the wider area.

Birthdays

Papua New Guinea international David Mead, formerly of Catalans, turns 33 today (November 4).

Also celebrating: Hull KR prop Will Maher (26); Oldham half-back Dave Hewitt (26), Leeds loose forward Zane Tetevano (31); former Australia and Hull hooker Shane Berrigan (43); ex-Salford hooker Malcolm Alker (43).

Trivia

Coventry Bears won National League 3 in 2004, when there were 14 teams in the competition, including Birmingham, Essex and Hemel.

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