SUPER LEAGUE News & Rumours – “Blood on the Dancefloor”

Clubs Continue to Bleed Amid Restart. Player Movement Strong Despite Losses. Bateman's Wild Ride. PLUS: Fans in September?

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NEWS & RUMOURS – July 2, 2020

The Wire Bleeding:

“All in all we are probably looking at a shortfall so far of around about £1.4m, to give you a bit of an idea of the challenges we are currently facing – and again, I need to reiterate, that is only for the recent period.” With regard to the emergency £16m loan the Rugby Football League is receiving from the government, Fitzpatrick said: “We are still not sure if we will be applying for that loan, the repayment terms have not been made available as yet. We are expecting to get the details through on that very shortly.” – loverugbyleague.com

“Middleton and club owner Simon Moran have already committed to a seven-figure sum to see the Wolves through the current crisis. But the chairman – the creative director of Card Factory – admits he worries for other clubs in Super League and beyond. Middleton said: “Wigan was a bit of a shock as I thought they had some big backers in China and Hong Kong, but I think there will be more to come. With most businesses I think it will be a two to three year issue.” – The Mirror

 

Hull KR

“Financial forecasts show that even with Government support, wage reductions, grants, and furlough payments we stand to be behind forecasts to the tune of £500,000 in 2020. Before we factor in loan support and other reductions, in 2021, our estimated shortfall is approaching £2 million. As you will see, therefore, there is a need, across the board, for prudence of an unprecedented level relating to all aspects of the Club from first team, youth development to support staff and stadium investment. Of all of those the one that I would want to protect the most is youth development as that is where the long-term focus of the Club’s strategy rests.” – Yorkshire Post

“Hull KR owner Neil Hudgell has confirmed the club have applied for a share of the government’s £16million loan to help cover an estimated shortfall of at least £2m. In an open letter to the fans, Hudgell stated he was not comfortable straddling the club with long-term debt but had little choice with Rovers in an “incredibly precarious position” financially.”- Hull Daily Mail

Carvell is uneasy with the attitude of Super League clubs who have agreed to sign players while the sport is proposing cuts across the board. “It doesn’t sit right really,” he said, “and it might bite them when the players who they’re trying to persuade to take pay cuts ask – and rightfully so – why they are doing that when their club are looking to sign new players? I’d like to think contracted players are looked after as a priority.” – The Guardian

 

Playa’s Ball:

“Another NRL player has emerged on Super League radars. This time, clubs have been alerted to the availability of Wests Tigers forward Oliver Clark, who could potentially make a move to the competition next season. Clark, 23, is a prop who weighs in at 107kg and is 6ft 2. He made his debut for the Tigers last year and went on to make nine appearances before playing a further three times so far this season.” – totalrl.com

“Two NRL players could be packing their bags and heading to the UK after being offered to Super League clubs, according to League Express. St Helen Saints are interested in North Queensland Cowboy Francis Molo, while Manly Sea Eagles outside back Brendan Elliot is off contract at the end of the season and open to offers by clubs in the UK. Elliot has only played two games this season after playing 18 matches in 2019 while deputising for Tom Trbojevic.” – zerotackle.com

“Smith last week played down the prospect of Livett staying on beyond the end of the year, insisting KR were simply happy for the back-rower to develop at Craven Park during his season-long loan before returning to Warrington Wolves. But after it emerged that Saldford Red Devils have made a for the England Knights forward, Smith told Hull Live that Rovers are competing for his signature.” – Hull Daily Mail

Castleford Tigers have expressed an interest in acquiring off-contract Leeds Rhinos forward Liam Sutcliffe. The 25-year-old is a free agent at the end of this year and Forty20 News understands that the Tigers are an interested party. Sutcliffe has spent his whole career at his home-town club, making his Super League debut in 2012.” – Forty20

 

Canada Daze:

“Sport can be an important bridge for sound, effective business between the two countries and supporting this has always been an integral objective for the Club since it’s formation. This agreement will see the Wolfpack co-hosting trade events with the Department for International Trade, and will undoubtedly help our partners access new opportunities both in the UK & Canada” commented Martin Vickers, UK General Manager, Toronto Wolfpack.” – torontowolfpack.com

“I think a couple of times Sonny Bill was the best. It was a shame he left our game, for whatever reason, but those couple of years he came back and proved to me that he stood above everyone else. In Williams’ NRL career, he won two NRL titles with the Bulldogs [2004] and Roosters [2013] and picked up the Golden Boot for international player of the year in 2013. After hanging up his rugby boots for good in 2019, Williams swapped back to rugby league this year but did so in the north, opting to play for recently-promoted Super League team, the Toronto Wolfpack.” – TVNZ

“Ottawa Aces have named Laurent Frayssinous as their inaugural head coach. The Canadian outfit, who will enter League 1 next season, unveiled the Frenchman as the man to lead them into the UK competition. “It’s a very exciting time for me and the club and the team,” Frayssinous said. “I can’t wait to start. I will bring all of my experience to ensure Ottawa Aces will be successful. It’s a great challenge.” – totalrl.com

 

Returns:

“Hull KR’s first game back is exactly one month away and it will be an important period for one group of players in particular. As many as 12 players are out of contract at the end of November and, with the exception of Bradford Bulls loanee Adam Rooks, they will be out to impress Tony Smith when Super League returns. Here, Hull Live takes a look at those playing for a new deal in the coming months.” – Hull Daily Mail

“Super League was originally working on the theory that October 1 was the earliest that limited-crowds could return, but the culture secretary recently suggested it may be as early as September. With that in mind – and with clubs keen to persuade season ticket holders not to request refunds – don’t be surprised if the campaign is stacked with the most appealing fixtures, as well as a scattering of midweek matches, later on. This will improve the chances that supporters can attend. The situation, though, remains fluid.” – Wigan Today

 

The Bateman Affair:

“Despite links to Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra Dragons, it’s now expected that Bateman will return home and rejoin Wigan Warriors on a four-year deal. – seriousaboutrl.com

“The Canberra Raiders are adamant they will be able to brush the John Bateman contract circus aside and come together to fulfil a premiership ambition. It comes as the Raiders prepare to face a side linked to the injured English star in the St George Illawarra Dragons at Canberra Stadium on Friday. Raiders captain Jarrod Croker is confident his side will block out the noise surrounding Bateman’s future after the club confirmed he would not see out the final year of his contract in 2021.” – Canberra Times

“On 24 February I met with [Canberra CEO] Don Furner, Ricky Stuart and John in Canberra to discuss John’s future at the Raiders,” Moses told the Sydney Morning Herald. “At that meeting Don advised the club were in salary cap trouble. 2021 was very tight and they were in the process of trying to re-sign other players in addition to John. 2022 was worse, they weren’t going to be able to afford him at all.” – seriousaboutrl.com

“Yeah, I’m proud of the club that they put a timeline on it,” he said. “We knew what was going to happen and we were sick of waiting. “We offered John a very good offer last year to his English manager and then his new manager. It was a very good offer. “And the words of ‘you’re getting closer’ I thought was disrespectful to (CEO) Don (Furner) and the club, and that day there I knew we wouldn’t be keeping John and therefore we needed to spend the money.” – seriousaboutrl.com

 

Graham Commits:

“James Graham has promised St Helens he will go “all in” for the rest of the year as he prepares for a final curtain call at his boyhood club. Graham has refused to be drawn on whether he will retire once the 2020 season concludes, having agreed a short-term return to Saints after eight and a half years in Australia’s unforgiving NRL. But he has vowed to give everything he has to a club he first joined as an 11-year-old and won a Super League title and three Challenge Cups with.” – The Mirror

“Everyone at the Club, particularly the players, have been uplifted by this news during an otherwise difficult period. We know he’ll again give everything to the boyhood club which he served with such distinction in the past. We are all now looking forward to the season reopening with even more anticipation and excitement.” St Helens Head Coach Kristian Woolf added: “I followed James’ career in the NRL closely as well as on the International stage. Given his profile and what he has achieved in the game, as an opposition coach, he is a player you make notes on and try and stop.” – St. Helen’s Reporter

“The England prop had been in line to link up with Saints for 2021, but long-time friend Paul Wellens convinced him to make the move early, after the Saints lost Luke Thompson to Canterbury. Graham told the Saints podcast: “I’d been talking to Mike Rush about the possibility of next year.” – Forty20

 

CUPdate:

“Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) have announced a collaboration with International Rugby League (IRL), which will see the organisations working together on the production of matches at the tournament, in addition to the sale of broadcast rights across the world. The partnership – along with the existing agreement with the BBC – will be responsible for the production of every game across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair events.” – Wakefield Express

 

 

(cover photo: SWPIX.COM)