Columnist JACK CONLON brings you the biggest rumours and gossip from the world of rugby league over the past week.
KR in for Lee
Hull KR could be set to make a move for Gold Coast outside back Brenko Lee (above) for 2020. Like Latu, Lee is also believed to be part of the Titans’ exodus, with a move to East Hull a lucrative option.
The transfer could hinge on Rovers’ Super League survival and isn’t likely to move much further forward until the club secures top-flight status. With Ryan Shaw among the names set to leave Craven Park this winter, Lee could well be seen as a like-for-like replacement. League Express have also reported that KR have signed Castleford prop Will Maher for next season in a bid to bolster their forward pack.
Warrington hunting NRL forward
Warrington are keen on luring an NRL prop to the Halliwell Jones for next season. We reported last week that the Wolves were considering Newcastle Knights’ James Gavet, who is likely to leave the club, however it now seems they are monitoring a number of options.
Among them is Gold Coast utility forward Leilani Latu, who is believed to be one of those to suffer from the Titans’ inevitable clear out at the end of this year. The 26-year-old Tongan international was tipped for big things earlier in his career but has so far failed to hit those heights and could look to ignite his career in Super League.
Fax to make double swoop
Halifax have made the double signing of Paul Brearley and Matt Garside for next season, report League Express. Highly rated back rower Brearley has made a huge impression at Batley since signing from amateur club Rochdale Mayfield at the start of the year.
And while the Bulldogs were keen on retaining him, he is understood to have chosen on a move to Simon Grix‘s side instead. Garside, 28, will also make the switch after making 14 appearances for Bradford this season.
No more signings expected at Leeds
Leeds Rhinos aren’t expected to make any more high-profile signings ahead of next season. The Rhinos have made a number of moves in the transfer market, signing five players during the year as well as securing Huddersfield back rower Alex Mellor for 2020, with the club’s hierarchy considering the current crop as a good enough squad to compete next year. Their overseas quota is also full, meaning they can’t recruit overseas players.
There will still be outgoings, with Brett Ferres, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Carl Ablett all set to either leave or retire. The only other moves are likely to be from rival academies or the amateur game to bolster their depth with the return of reserve grade.
More departures for Widnes
As they make the transition from full time to part time, a number of Widnes players are set to become available for transfer in the coming months. The Vikings have already lost four key men, with Jordan Johnstone signing for Hull and Anthony Gelling, Keanan Brand (both Warrington) and Danny Craven (Leigh) all due to leave for pastures new.
Tom Gilmore and Harrison Hansen are both understood to be in demand, with the latter almost making a move to Wakefield before this season’s transfer deadline. A number of the club’s most promising youngsters, including Joe Lyons, Brad Walker and Olly Ashall-Bott, who almost joined Warrington before the club were relegated, could also be tempted away. League Weekly have also reported that Ashall-Bott is being targeted by London as a replacement for Wakefield-bound Alex Walker.
Knights sign Minns
York City Knights have signed Thomas Minns with immediate effect, according to League Express. The former Leeds Rhinos product was released by Hull KR a few weeks ago, with SARL reporting that he was being pursued by several clubs, including the Knights.
And it now seems as if James Ford has secured his services for the run in to the playoffs. York’s win over Featherstone saw them secure their top five place and Minns will, no doubt, be a huge boost as they look to win promotion to Super League.