SUPER LEAGUE News & Rumours – June 9, 2020: “Restart Reckoning”

Restart Committee Formed to Tackle Restart. COVID-19 Concerns Take Precedent. Black Lives Matter. PLUS: Player Movement On Fire!


NEWS & RUMOURS – June 9, 2020

Black Lives Matter to Super League:

“Warrington Wolves have launched a special edition of their home shirt in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The club’s chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick says that Warrington could not remain silent surrounding the issue and made the decision to show their solidarity towards the movement.” –


VIDEO: “Warrington Wolves CEO Karl Fitzpatrick feels sport has the ability to influence change, after the club launched a special edition of their home shirt in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.” –


“Asked about the subject of institutional racism, Turner said: “I have experienced racism on all different scales – from people using derogatory words, incidents with the police, opinions on me in the rugby league world and being refused entry from a night club because I’m big and black. “The police have stopped me numerous times whilst driving my car for no apparent reason, the last incident only being in 2018 when I was followed – ironically right outside (Huddersfield’s) John Smith’s Stadium – by a police car. “There also was a time when my mum wouldn’t come to watch me play as she couldn’t handle the racist remarks directed at me from the stand. There are a lot of (such) stories.” – Yorkshire Post


New group formed to lead restart:

“Super League CEOs will meet later this week for the first time as part of a working group established to focus on the restart plans. Initial discussions have been held between the clubs, but the working group will now begin to step up the plans for a return to rugby league.” – Hull Daily Mail


“A Super League return will move a step closer this week with the first meeting of a Restart Group which will look at ways to stage games behind closed doors. Working groups have also been formed to lay the groundwork for a return of both the Championship and League 1, but the Super League will lead the way as the group – formed of RFL and Super League Europe executives – looks at operational, legal, marketing and media issues relating to a return.” –


“The Government have outlined a five-stage plan for the resumption of sport: Stage One – training in small groups; Stage Two – full-contact group training; Stage Three – domestic Behind Closed Doors matches; Stage Four – cross-border Behind Closed Door matches; Stage Five – matches with crowds.” –


“We anticipate that the Restart Group will also consider stages four – cross-border matches – and five, getting crowds back in our stadia. The same applies to the Championship and League 1 Working Groups.” Three models have been presented for a restart, with possible dates for the Grand Final on either November 28, December 12 or in mid-January 2021. The standings would be determined based on 22, 24, or 28 games respectively. It is understood the most ambitious of the plans, the third option with the January Grand Final date, is no longer under active consideration by the 12 clubs.” – Sports Mole


COVID Concerns:

“With fans unable to attend games until October at the earliest, clubs are facing up to playing behind closed doors for a number of weeks. Karen Moorhouse, the RFL’s chief regulatory officer, says it is “very likely” select stadiums will initially be used to help with logistics.” – Hull Daily Mail


“Karen Moorhouse, the chief regulatory officer for the RFL, said it is “very likely” that only a small number of venues will be used to stage matches. The move could see, for example, Leeds’ Headingley and Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium host the behind-closed-doors games, reducing costs and easing the logistics of making sure the protocols are in place during the coronavirus pandemic.” – Wigan Today


“Moorhouse says working with the NRL – who resumed playing just over a week ago – has proved helpful. In Australia, rigorous testing processes are in place, including temperature checks before training, and each club has a designated Covid-19 medical officer. The game here could adopt similar protocols and, inevitably, many are wondering about the cost involved. Moorhouse added: “Clearly the cost will be significant but ultimately we have to do it to make sure we get that safe environment for players and get our product back on TV.” – Yorkshire Post


“The RFL’s chief medical officer, Chris Brookes, has outlined how Super League clubs could return to training ahead of the return of the competition. Although the government has suggested professional sports team returning to action should practise social distancing in the first phase of training, it seems rugby league clubs could re-introduce contact work much earlier.” – Hull Daily Mail


“A series of meetings in the coming days includes a gathering of the laws committee on Wednesday, when increasing the number of interchanges allowed in Super League games will be discussed. Teams are allowed eight interchanges but with the prospect of multiple games each week a meeting of coaches last week indicated a desire to an increase this season to reduce the burden on players.” – The Guardian


Player and personal movement continues as Super League gets back to business:

“Toby King has promised to make world superstar Greg Inglis realise he’s got a fight on his hands when he arrives at Warrington. England Knights star King has been copping stick off his team-mates about how he’ll lose his centre spot to Inglis.” – Daily Star


“Incoming coach Michael Maguire wanted him on board after he departed a glittering career at St Helens. But Long says he still held a grudge from the fact Wigan had shown him the door as a youngster in the mid-90s, prompting him to choose Hull FC instead. “I had two clubs, Hull or go back to Wigan,” he told the Behind the Athlete podcast. “Madge (Maguire) was just taking over, I’d have won the comp’ and Orrell – where they trained – was 50 yards from where I lived.” – Wigan Today


“Huddersfield Town winger Isaac Mbenza is a target for Belgian giants Anderlecht, it has been claimed. Mbenza, a former Belgian under-21 international, has endured a far from happy time at Town since making his loan move last season from Montpellier into a permanent one for the 2019/20 campaign. Just five Championship appearances this season – two under Danny Cowley – and one EFL Cup appearance led to a loan spell with French Ligue 1 side Amiens in February, his future at Town cast into doubt.” – Examiner Live


“Josh Griffin says his former Hull FC coach Lee Radford has “come to terms” with being sacked and the squad will feel like they are starting a whole new season when they do finally resume action after shutdown. Griffin won the Challenge Cup with Hull in his debut season and has since established himself as one of Super League’s top three-quarters, being called into Shaun Wane’s England plans in March. But the popular Radford was sacked after a 38-4 loss against Warrington Wolves on March 12 – the East Yorkshire club’s last game before the coronavirus closed the sport down.” – Yorkshire Post


“England head coach Shaun Wane is being lined up to replace Paul McGregor at St George Illawarra Dragons, according to reports. After the Dragons’ disastrous start to the NRL campaign, McGregor is under fire in Wollongong and according to The Mole, Wane is a name being considered to replace the former Australia international at the helm should he lose his job.” – Hull Daily Mail


“Walker suffered serious damage to a foot during Rhinos’ 36-0 thrashing of Warrington Wolves on February 28. He tried to play on, but had to be substituted – with half-back/hooker Richie Myler taking over at full-back – and missed the big home win over Toronto Wolfpack six days later. But Rhinos’ visit to Catalans Dragons the following week was postponed and there has been no rugby league played in this country since that weekend because of the coronavirus pandemic.” – Yorkshire Post


“Hull KR are set to add experience to their squad for 2021 but Tony Smith insists producing young players is what will get the club through a testing period. Smith inherited an ageing squad and changed the club’s recruitment policy during his first off-season in charge, with the Australian bringing in predominantly young and hungry players.” – Hull Daily Mail


“By the time he was 21, Lee Crooks had already achieved more than most rugby league players do throughout their entire careers. The Hull-born back-rower had been 17 for just two months when he was thrust into the limelight, making his debut for Hull FC in a 15-10 win over Salford at the Boulevard in 1980, but even at such a tender age he showcased his potential.” – Hull Daily Mail


“Ben Flower is on the radar of Toronto Wolfpack for next season… They hadn’t won any of their games before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is thought relegation will be scrapped at the end of this year because the season has been so heavily compromised – and they are already making plans for 2021.” – Wigan Today


“Ward, 26, is out of contract in November and would be available on a free transfer after that if a deal is not agreed with Rhinos. The Leeds-born back-rower made his Rhinos debut in 2012 and was a Grand Final winner that year and in 2017, all under current Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott. McDermott is a big admirer of Ward, whose career has been disrupted by wretched luck with injuries, particularly shoulder and knee damage.” – Yorkshire Post


“Salford have signed hooker Andy Ackers from Toronto with immediate effect on a deal until the end of the 2022 season. The 26-year-old has made more than 130 career appearances for Swinton, London Broncos and the Wolfpack.” –