Super League News & Rumours – April 20, 2020: “Paycuts Cometh”

Sonny Williams accused of cashing in. NRL poaching Super League? The pay cuts are here! PLUS: Wolves' Mike Cooper helps out and still no return date for fans.

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The latest Leeds Rhinos statement does NOT instil confidence of a quick return to Super League action: “We are carefully controlling our costs. Earlier this month, 150 staff, including our players, coaches, office staff and Directors were placed on furlough as part of the government’s job retention scheme. That will remain the case for nearly all staff until at least the end of June.”

VIDEO: Toronto Wolfpack player Jon Wilkins’ calls proposal for weekly COVID-19 test for players “indulgent” while worldwide testing remains so low.

With the National Rugby League in Australia making plans to resume play on May 28 several Super League players were rumoured to be in the sights of NRL clubs while Super League remains sidelined. Star power players like Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau among others were names being bandied about as possible targets but the story was recently shot down.

Kallum Watkins was allowed his release from the NRL’s Gold Coast Titans to return home to care for his ailing father who contracted COVID-19. On the way there he seems to have inked a Super League deal with a reported agreement with the Toronto Wolfpack awaiting league approval. Watkins previously played under Wolfpack head coach Brian McDermott with the Leeds Rhinos, winning 4 Super League Grand Finals together.

Last week Super League players received their wage cut notifications, a result of the COVID-19 crisis that has crippled sports and suspended the SL season. In order to save the league players will have their salaries reduced using a staggered system that insures the highest paid players get hit hardest. The reductions help the ailing league but much more will need to be done to help secure a bright future already under a cloud with broadcasting and marketing concerns.

wigantoday.com breaks down the pay cut structure Super League teams are facing and the different approaches each club is taking on the issue. Great stuff.

Gorden Tallis had an interesting take on Sonny Bill Williams when speaking to Fox Sports. “I love Sonny Bill Williams. I think he’s one of the greatest forwards I’ve ever watched on a footy field and he’s done amazing in his career, but I’ve watched him play a couple of times and I think the cue is on the rack. How hard he’s played and what he’s put his body through, I think it’s time for him.”

Theres a nice blurb about Warrington Wolves player Mike Cooper who sourced and donated 100,000 pieces of personal protection equipment to homes and businesses in the UK.