Warrington Wolves star Gareth Widdop was ‘close’ to sensational move – but not to Castleford Tigers

Much has been said over recruitment for 2023 and beyond.

The new season will soon roll around with head coaches and clubs trying to do their best to get their recruitment done early.

Of course, it is not as simple as just phoning up a player agent and club and organising a deal, a number of things have to be taken into consideration first.

In 2022, a number of Championship sides have spent big – such as Newcastle Thunder and Halifax Panthers alongside the obvious Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions duo.

But, that was down to belief that there would be a change in structure at the end of this year, according to one Bradford Bulls reporter.

“I spoke to Newcastle, they thought the two 10s were coming in this year and that’s why Halifax have spent the money and why they are spending less next year,” The Game Caller said on The Full Eighty Minutes podcast.

Among those players who Halifax had their eye on was Warrington star Gareth Widdop – who is widely tipped to be joining Lee Radford’s revolution at the Jungle – though that was ridiculed by a number of people at the time.

“When Halifax played Bradford last week, Ian Croad (Director of Rugby at Halifax) told me ‘I don’t know who told you but it was correct, we were close to getting Gareth Widdop but he just wanted too much money.’

“And obviously with the way (Louis) Jouffret and Joe (Keyes) are playing, they don’t need him. even this year halfiax have spent money where they didn’t need to spend.

Instead, Fax are spending less in 2023 with a new format set to be introduced in 2024 with licensing potentially set to be a big part of that new structure that will come into being for 2024 under the new IMG plans.