Columnist JACK CONLON brings you the biggest rumours and gossip from the world of rugby league over the past week.
Williams set for NRL
George Williams could be an NRL player in 2020, report League Express. The Wigan halfback has reportedly been in discussions with Canberra Raiders over a three-year deal and is likely to take up the offer at the end of this season.
The 24-year-old would be the fifth Englishman to join the ‘Green Machine’, following Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead and ex-Wigan teammates John Bateman and Ryan Sutton. He would likely become the Raiders’ first choice no.7, alongside Aidan Sezer but faces competition from former Catalans and Wakefield half Sam Williams for the jersey.
Leeds linked with Melbourne duo
After offloading three players to make room in their salary cap, Leeds Rhinos are reportedly interested in Melbourne Storm prop Sam Kasiano and Patrick Kaufusi. According to Australia media, the Storm have major salary cap problems and have offered Kasiano, Kaufusi and winger Cheyse Blair to Super League clubs.
The Rhinos are still light up front and looking to add another forward. Kaufusi, in particular, has good connections with the club having represented Tonga alongside current Rhinos Konrad Hurrell and Tui Lolohea. Melbourne are keen to get rid of the trio as soon as possible so don’t be surprised if a deal happens in the next couple of weeks.
Maloney on the Dragons’ radar
We reported during the week that James Maloney could be set for a move to Super League and it’s now believed that Catalans are one of a number of clubs interested in his services. The Dragons have never been shy of bringing in big names and could add Maloney to their ranks, especially if Tony Gigot is tempted by a move down under.
The French fullback previously denied speculation linking him with a move to North Queensland Cowboys, but Serious About RL understands there is still NRL interest in him. His departure would free-up cap space for Maloney to slot in alongside Matty Smith.
International triple-header on the horizon
England are set to be involved in an international triple-header in November, the Australian Daily Telegraph are reporting. Wayne Bennett’s side will reportedly face New Zealand, with Tonga v Australia and Fiji v Samoa making up the other games.
The burning question is the effect this will have on the GB Tour that meant to be going ahead this Autumn. The Lions are set to play against New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and PNG, with no fixtures initially planned for England other than the 9’s World Cup. The Pacific Tests were supposed to be going ahead, but it seems England, Australia and NZ have somehow been thrown into the mix as well.
Championship clubs Chase Rangi
A number of Championship clubs are reportedly keeping tabs on Super League’s forgotten man, Rangi Chase. The former Man of Steel is currently serving a two-year drugs ban, but will be eligible to play again by mid-July.
He is believed to currently be working in a local convenience store in Castleford but is keen to reignite his rugby career once his ban ends. There have already been offers from local amateur clubs to help him get back up to speed but a move back into the professional ranks in the Championship is his favoured move.