Now and again throughout the summer game, there has been many a time when a news story makes you sit up and take note.
Whether it’s because of the controversial manner in which a particular story happens or whatever the outcome actually is, there have been some incredible ones down the year – just look at Sonny Bill Williams joining the Toronto Wolfpack ahead of their maiden season in Super League in 2020.
But, sometimes, players and would-be coaches have reneged on particular deals or specific life events such as retirement to shock the sport’s fraternity.
Here are six of the biggest u-turns in Super League history.
He was set to take over at Wigan for the 2020 season, having agreed a deal in August 2019. Edwards had already talked about how much of a risk it was to take up the role, but the former half-back was still expected to honour his verbal agreement. However, Edwards announced in April 2019 that he would be staying with the Wales rugby team as part of Wayne Pivac’s backroom staff. The Wigan legend cited a lack of preparation time to be ready to begin his duties with the Warriors. That left his reputation with the Wigan faithful in tatters.
James Segeyaro had signed a two-year contract extension to an initial short-term deal at Leeds in July 2016. However, by November of that year, the hooker had told Australian media outlets that he would not be returning. That prompted the Rhinos to place a £250,000 valuation on Segeyaro and to even consider legal proceedings over an alleged breach of contract. The two parties eventually settled a lengthy stand-off to allow him to sign for Sydney-based NRL side Cronulla Sharks. To make matters even more interesting, Segeyaro admitted he would return to Leeds at the back end of his career, though the club would perhaps not be too keen.
The former Parramatta Eel had joined Warrington in July 2015 on a lucrative contract. His impact was immediate and Sandow helped the Wolves to both the Challenge Cup Final and Grand Final in 2016 – though they lost both. However, things went awry following that season with the halfback walking out on the club because of a family member’s death and homesickness as he told Warrington that he would not be returning to pre-season training despite having a year left on his contract. Sandow was blasted by Warrington chief executive Tony Smith as a “pain” in a bitter parting shot to his former star.
The 2011 Man of Steel had had numerous suitors throughout his time at Castleford, but Rangi Chase appeared on the brink of leaving in 2012 when his old club St George Illawarra Dragons came calling. At that point, the halfback had three years left on his contract after signing a new deal only 12 months prior, but there had been rumours he would leave the West Yorkshire club when he was suspended by Castleford in June for breaching club rules on drinking alcohol before a match. A move to Hull FC had already fallen through earlier on in 2012 due to visa difficulties, but Chase and Castleford “mutually agreed” for the halfback to stay in October. He would, of course, move at the end of 2013 to Salford anyway.
Welshman Iestyn Harris left Leeds in 2001 to try his hand in the 15-a-side code with Cardiff Blues, but the Rhinos were given first disposal if the playmaker came back to rugby league – a deal which Harris had agreed to. However, when Harris did return in 2004, Bradford were the ones that moved for the Welsh international, breaking the contract. Finally, a £550,000 fee was agreed between Leeds and Bradford in 2008 after a series of talks. In July 2005 a High Court judge found Harris guilty of failing to honour a clause in his contract which gave the Rhinos first call on his services as a league player.
Ben Galea had been a stellar servant for Hull KR between 2008 and 2012, so when, in September 2012, the forward confirmed that he had gone back on his decision to retire to sign for Hull FC, the Robins’ faithful was left a bit perplexed. Galea didn’t stay at the KC Stadium long though, appearing just 15 times before finally hanging his boots up at the end of 2013, but it did somewhat tarnish the image he had created with Rovers. In fact, the Robins’ faithful would probably not have minded half as much if he hadn’t signed with their bitterest rivals.