Columnist JACK CONLON brings you the biggest rumours and gossip from the world of rugby league over the past week.
Toronto duo on the market
Toronto Wolfpack announced their 2019 squad numbers on Friday, but there were a couple of notable names missing. Mason Caton-Brown and Jack Buchanan were both absent from the squad and with no official announcement about a release, it’s to be assumed they’re both available.
Both are Super League quality players, with Caton-Brown being a particularly attractive target. Salford won’t be making a move for him but Castleford, Hull FC and former club London are all reportedly interested. The Broncos are also keeping an eye on Buchanan, as are Widnes.
Fev set for seven Rhinos and a Robin
With their dual-registration agreement still in place for 2019, Featherstone are set to have a choice of seven Leeds players available for the start of the season. Luke Briscoe, Harry Newman, Anthony Mullally, Jack Ormondroyd, Josh Walters, Ashton Golding and Dan Waite-Pullan will all be up for selection, with the latter four already featuring for Rovers in pre-season.
Ryan Carr is also set to add Hull KR fullback Will Dagger to his ranks on a season-long loan deal. Youngster Kiedan Hartley is his only permanent option at the back right now and KR are keen to giver Dagger regular game time, so it’s a win-win situation for both clubs.
Johnson heading to Leigh
After his release from Hull KR, it seems Josh Johnson’s next destination will be the Centurions. John Duffy’s squad is still pretty light in the forwards so the former Huddersfield prop is an ideal candidate to add some bulk going forward.
Johnson was one of three Rovers player loaned to Leigh during their crisis at the end of last season so should have no issue slotting back in at the Sports Village. Duffy’s side is finally coming together, with St Helens trio Matty Costello, Joe Batchelor and Josh Eaves being the first to debut at the weekend on the back of their dual-registration agreement.
Patton to step up
Kevin Brown’s long-term injury is a big blow to Warrington but will give Dec Patton the chance to prove his worth. Brown ruptured his achilles in training last week and could be set to miss the entire season. With Gareth Widdop on the way in 2020 though, the Wolves are reluctant to sign a new half in the short-term.
Patton has been itching for a regular starting spot for the past three years and won’t get a better chance than this to impress his coach. Should the 23-year-old fail to perform, however, there’s nothing to stop Price moving Stefan Ratchford into the halves with Jake Mamo now on the books.
White on Salford’s radar
Ian Watson is on the lookout for a new pivot, with Welsh international Lloyd White at the top of his wish list, according to League Express. The former Widnes captain signed for Australian side Mackay Cutters at the end of last season but is reportedly keen on a return to Super League.
With Josh Wood and Logan Tomkins still recovering from injuries, White would provide significant backup for Joey Lussick and prevent Watson from putting too much pressure on 16-year-old Connor Aspey-Davies. League Express have also reported the Devils are keeping tabs on Toronto’s Ryan Brierley and Rochdale’s Scott Moore.