RL Rumours: Leeds to benefit from huge NRL move, Rovers trio to move on and Leopards close to extending star

Below is a round-up of all the biggest rumours and gossip from the world of rugby league over the past week.

Rhinos to benefit from massive NRL move

Shaun Johnson is not only one of the best Kiwi players of his generation, but just of his generation full-stop. Perhaps best remembered to English fans for his iconic winner against England in the 2013 World Cup semi, he’s without doubt a superb player. Reports down under have now suggested Wests Tigers could make a play for him, which would make current half-back Luke Brooks surplus to requirements. The beneficiaries of this? Leeds Rhinos. The Mole of Wide World of Sports has reported previously that the Rhinos are keen on his services, and Johnson joining Wests could push Brooks into their lap.

Super League veteran “open” to NRL switch

Mitchell Pearce has had an impacted season with injury so far, much like many of the Catalans squad, but the Australian half still has plenty of ability left as exemplified when he has played. Reports came over a month ago that struggling Wests Tigers had made a play for him, which Pearce rejected, but he’s now opened up that he is in fact “open” to an NRL return which could mean this is his last season in Perpignan.

Rovers trio to move on

Willie Peters spoke with the press today and has confirmed that the trio of Ethan Ryan, Jimmy Keinhorst and Sam Wood will all be on the move at the end of the year as they’re three of the Robins that won’t be receiving new contract offers. With that information we’ve plotted where the three versatile outside backs could go. Peters has also spoken about the “opportunities” and recruits that his side are currently looking at, both in England and in the NRL.

Leopards close to extending star

Leigh Leopards have been a breath of fresh air in Super League this season and rather than looking like relegation candidates, they instead look like they’ll make a play-off push. One of the men integral to their performances so far is Kai O’Donnell and the Leopards are now close to securing his future.

Super League star in cross-city transfer

Following the May 1st deadline, after which players could negotiate with rival clubs and vice versa there’s been a lot of speculation surrounding the key off-contract players in Super League. High-flying Hull KR have a number of players heading off contract including captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall and former KR boss, and current FC man Tony Smith has been asked about him. That’s triggered the potential for a cross-city switch, particularly given Hull Live’s report that Rovers are in pole position to sign English NRL centre Oliver Gildart. Rovers boss Willie Peters had confirmed today that contract talks are ongoing with their skipper.

Five Super League stars who could be on the move

There’s plenty of off-contract Super League players who are set for potential moves but five of them specifically have been heavily rumoured to depart their current clubs, and here’s where they could head. One of those is the in-demand Chris Satae of Hull FC but a different Hull FC man has been reportedly offered to open market by his club, per Thirteen Rugby.

World Cup Finalist to make immediate code switch

There’s long been rumours that Joseph Suaali’i is being pursued by Australian rugby union boss Eddie Jones but there hadn’t been many developments since initial reports. That’s now changed with the young full-back reportedly free to leave the Roosters, who have no intention in investing in a young player should they be set to leave. The Roosters have refuted these but it’s sparked open again the idea that Suaali’i will be playing in green and gold for the Australian rugby union team sometime soon.

France RL to strengthen international and domestic scenes

The end of April saw England host France in a double header with both men and women’s sides playing, and both games seeing England win 64-0 over their French counterparts. That’s prompted cries for France to strengthen and their Federation President has not outlined these, some of which will “facilitate the departures abroad [Super League or even Southern Hemisphere] of players, to perfect their sporting level.”.

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