RL News: Hardaker’s story on Grand Final drug ban, Wellens slams Clarke’s cheating claims and “desperate” NRL club want SL star

Below is a round-up of all the latest news from the world of rugby league over the last 24 hours.

How Hardaker left Wigan

Zak Hardaker has detailed his departure from Wigan explaining that he “kicked up a bit of a fuss” to secure a return to Leeds. He also explained why he didn’t remain at Leeds as he stated that the Rhinos salary cap “is all over the place”.

Wellens slams Clarke’s “cheating” claims

Following St Helens victory over Huddersfield last Thursday, Sky Pundit Phil Clarke made some strong calls about whether Saints were “effectively cheating” or not. Paul Wellens has now responded with Opta statistics and posed a question straight back to Clarke citing it as “food for thought”.

Super League sides make swap deal

Wakefield Trinity’s injury issues have been no secret and their one senior full-back Max Jowitt copping a three-month long injury was one of those major issues. Trinity have now resolved it by bringing in a full-back from Hull KR, but at the expense of sending a talented young back to Humberside in a bold swap deal.

Hardaker’s story on Grand Final drug bust¬†

Zak Hardaker and Castleford Tigers had an exceptional season in 2017 but it all came crashing down on Grand Final week when the star full-back was banned on a drugs charge and the Tigers ultimately lost out at Old Trafford. The current Leigh man has explained how the ban came about in detail, and even explained how he thought he’d got away with it.

Man of Steel favourite won’t rule out NRL return

George Williams has been absolutely brilliant this season and much of Warrington’s success can be attributed to the England international. He’s impressed so much so that Wests Tigers are reportedly chasing him, something Wire CEO Karl Fitzpatrick has commented on. Williams has since made comments on Sky Sports that have stoked the fire of a potential NRL return.

Leeming officially leaves Leeds

Rohan Smith has confirmed that former captain Kruise Leeming has left Leeds following the hooker’s reported requests to leave Headingley. Speaking with the media Smith confirmed that paperwork had been “done” on Leeds’ end, but where Leeming ends up is still unclear.

Bateman’s “mystery injury” revealed

John Bateman went down with injury in his most recent game with Wests Tigers but the situation was shrouded with mystery when head coach Tim Sheens responded: “I’d prefer not to say”, in reference to the Englishman’s problem. It’s now been identified by Twitter’s The NRL Physio and it sounds a painful one.

“Desperate” NRL club seek Super League star’s signature

It’s being reported down under that Wests Tigers are calling out for a playmaker and they’re suggested to make a play for Australian veteran Mitchell Pearce. The Catalans star made his first appearance of the season on Saturday but Wests are keen on bringing him back to the NRL in a move branded “desperate”.

Championship club confirm MP support to challenge IMG

Keighley Cougars were one of the best stories of the 2022 season as they achieved an impressive invincible season on their way to promotion from League One. Since then they’ve made some splash signings in the Championship and have been a vocal critic of IMG. They’ve now released a statement formally opposing the IMG proposals and stating they’ve met the Sports Minister. They had earlier called out IMG referencing the incredible attendance figure of almost 5,000 that they recorded this past weekend.

Trinity add winger on loan deal

Wakefield Trinity have had some awful injury issues to what was already a relatively small squad and that’s led Mark Applegarth to utilise the loan market in the shape of Sam Hewitt and Tom Forber earlier in the season. They’ve now brought in another loanee from a rival Super League side.

Super League Team News

Hull KR host Leeds on Friday and will be without their first-choice centres whilst the Rhinos are boosted by the return of an England international. Wakefield Trinity visit St Helens who see a suspended star return, but Trinity can only name a 20-man squad. For the Thursday fixture Wigan have made one change recalling a Leigh loanee, whilst hosts Leigh have similarly made the one change in replacing their lost loanee.

Three free-to-air games on TV this week

The coming week sees eight rugby league games on our TV ranging from the NRL to the Challenge Cup. Among those eight there are three games on free-to-air television and all on the weekend for some brilliant rugby league coverage.

Andy Last provides coaching update

Andy Last has been the man in charge since Lee Radford left Castleford but he hasn’t been confirmed as the new head coach yet, with the search for that role still ongoing. Following last week’s 38-0 whitewash defeat to Warrington Last has provided an update on his status, whilst Greg Eden has also commented on the possibility of Last assuming the role full time.

Super League forward signs new deal

31-year-old Julian Bousquet has signed a new one-year-deal with Catalans with an option of another year. The French international has been with the Perpignan side since 2012 and has played 232 games in the gold and red, but will aim to push on with this new deal.

Beaumont’s dream Grand Final

Derek Beaumont has been previewing the upcoming ‘Battle of the Borough’ with Leigh set to host Wigan and he’s explained what his dream Grand Final would be. He’s also spoke of the goal to compete in the Challenge Cup final this year as it would mean his Leigh side could hand over the 1895 Cup trophy before contesting for their own Challenge Cup trophy.

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