Rumour Mill #34

Columnist JACK CONLON brings you the biggest rumours and gossip from the world of rugby league over the past week.

FOUR Super League players headed to Rugby Union?

Four current Super League players could be set for moves to rugby union. League Express are reporting that halfbacks Richie Myler (above) and Dec Patton are being eyed up by Welsh club Ospreys, who are looking to replace injured fly-half Gareth Anscombe.

League Weekly are also reporting that Hull FC winger Ratu Naulago (above) has signed up with a rugby union agent, who will now look to find the 28-year-old a 15-aside club. It is understood that Naulago will honour his contract with the Black and Whites, which expires at the end of next season, before switching codes. Recently released Hull KR winger Ryan Shaw is also on the verge of linking up with Yorkshire Carnegie, where ex-Leeds back Lee Smith and former Bradford prop Callum Bustin have already signed.

Bateman to Super League?

Canberra Raiders forward Luke Bateman is the latest NRL star to be offered to Super League clubs, report Total RL. The 24-year-old, who is no relation to fellow Raiders star and England international John, has made 65 appearances for the club since making his debut back in 2016.

A minor knee surgery and the form of other players has meant he hasn’t played a single NRL game this year, with Canberra now deeming him surplus to requirements. His age and physicality suggest he could make waves in Super League, while he isn’t likely to have a hefty price tag.

Leigh in for Tomkins

Leigh Centurions have emerged as one of the clubs interested in Salford hooker Logan Tomkins. The 27-year-old will leave the Red Devils after the club confirmed they could afford to keep him after this season.

Tomkins has plenty of experience, with almost 200 professional appearances to his name, while he is still undoubtedly a Super League standard player. With Mickey Higham retiring, though, the Centurions reportedly see Tomkins as the ideal candidate to rotate with Liam Hood next year.

Leeds youngster attracting admirers

He was one of the stars of Featherstone’s play-off win over Leigh yesterday, so it’s no surprise that young centre Alex Sutcliffe is attracting interest from Super League and Championship clubs. The 20-year-old has scored 15 tries in 16 games on dual-registration for Rovers this season, including two against the Centurions.

With the form of Konrad Hurrell and Harry Newman for the Rhinos this year, regular game time is looking unlikely for Sutcliffe, which has alerted other clubs who may be able to offer that to him. Leeds are keen to keep him, so a loan move elsewhere to pick up more experience could even be on the cards.

York to sign Super League veteran

York City Knights are set to sign Hull FC forward Danny Washbrook following his release from the Black and Whites, report Hull Live. The 33-year-old was one of 10 players confirmed to be leaving the KCOM Stadium in the off-season, following the expiry of his contract.

Washbrook has made over 300 Super League appearances since making his FC debut in 2005 and so would add much experience to James Ford’s side. The City Knights have been the Championship’s surprise package in 2019, finishing third in the table despite only being promoted this year.

London to promote from within

While there will still be a recruitment drive at London ahead of next season, the club are likely to rely on the talent already at the club as they aim for a quick return to Super League. Danny Ward is likely to retain around 70% of his squad, with at least seven players already agreeing deals with other clubs.

Tuoyo Egodo and Cory Aston have already signed, while the likes of Eddie Battye and Dan Hindmarsh have also pledged their futures to the club. The majority of the squad are set to follow suit, leaving Ward with primarily the outside backs as an area to recruit in. London’s academy finished fifth in the U19s competition this season, so expect several youngsters to step up and provide depth.

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