Super League transfer Q&A: St Helens relaxed on Hopoate replacement, Leeds’ Kershaw interest, Leigh recruitment plans, more Salford incomings?

Aaron Bower
Paul Wellens, Lee Kershaw, Mott Moylan Alamy

St Helens coach Paul Wellens (left), out of contract winger Lee Kershaw (centre) and new Leigh signing Matt Moylan (right) - Alamy

Love Rugby League journalist Aaron Bower has answered your questions about the latest transfer speculation in Super League.

@philrodneyjones: Have Saints identified a replacement for Will Hopoate yet?

St Helens are, I’m told, incredibly relaxed about this one. With Will Hopoate’s injury record preventing him from being what you’d consider an out-and-out regular at the Saints in the last couple of years, the club feel they have adequate cover to go into the season as things stand.

Their sights are on Australia – and as is often the case at this time of year, clubs with quota spaces left are watching on and waiting for NRL clubs to name their top 30 to see which players don’t make the cut. I’d expect some movement as the season approaches and we get through Christmas.

@Tim_conley10: Are Leeds interested in Lee Kershaw?

They have shown an interest, yes. But this is a complicated one, and it all revolves around the possibility of being able to move someone out first. That person is likely to be Derrell Olpherts, who has been offered to clubs by his management. However, a lot of clubs are looking towards the pack for remaining new recruits.

Leigh were linked with Olpherts but I’m told that’s not happening. If the Rhinos can get someone out, they’d like to get Kershaw in: but they’re not the only club who want him…

@JamesPike1702: Any other news from the mighty Leopards? Derek Beaumont mentioned one more other than the marquee in his interview the other week. Any ideas?

Matt Moylan in action for Cronulla Sharks in the NRL. Photo by Australian Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo. Leigh Leopards announced the signing of NRL half-back Matt Moylan earlier this week – Alamy

Leigh are still in the market and still active. I’m told they’re looking to the outside-backs, hence the obvious links to one of the players who’s openly available in that position, the aforementioned Derrell Olpherts.

But the Leopards are looking elsewhere. They have a shortlist of overseas players they’re monitoring from the NRL but that would depend on movement in their overseas quota. Matt Moylan’s signing takes them to capacity so they’d need either a way around the quota regulations – such as a player qualifying on ancestry – or to move someone on.

But the plan is for at least one more senior squad member to come in on top of the work Leigh have done beefing out their squad at the bottom end, too.

@Adam_Kelsey1: Any truth in the Alex Walmsley to HKR rumour?

Felt compelled to include this one as it caught me off-guard when I read it! Checked out at both ends and… No would be the short answer!

@Nath_smith21: Any more Salford incomings?

I’d wager so. From what I can gather Salford are still in the market and still active.

Hooker would be one position they’d be interested in strengthening which is unsurprising, given the loss of Andy Ackers to Leeds. The issue for the Red Devils would be that they’re maxed out on the quota so any future signings have to come from England.

@Rickyf111: Your general thoughts on what’s going on at Wakefield…

I’ve assumed this is more about my thoughts on their recruitment latest rather than my opinion on the matter – as nobody wants to hear my ramblings! Wakefield are almost there in terms of the squad that will start 2024: but that won’t be all they do in terms of new signings.

I’d expect a blueprint similar to Leigh in 2021, in that the plan is to strengthen as the season goes on.

Wakefield fans, we’ve a couple of pieces coming in the next week or so with your new recruitment manager, Ste Mills. Plenty to come on what might happen between now and the start of the season in there.

The advantage for Trinity is that, like Leigh two years ago, they’re not bound to any quota restrictions so it makes it much more likely they can take a punt on unproven Australian players without fear of filling their overseas quota. So more movement there seems all-but certain.

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