RL News: Westerman releases statement, St Helens shunned by NRL and new Man of Steel favourite

Below is a round-up of all the latest news from the world of rugby league over the last 24 hours.

Joe Westerman saga

On Sunday evening a video began to do the rounds on social media, in particular Twitter, featuring a man reported to be Joe Westerman in an act that will distract from the Tigers’ opening fixture this coming week. The Tigers initially reported that they had opened an internal investigation, however a second statement with Westerman’s comments has also been issued.

Mata’utia opens up on suicide attempt

Peter Mata’utia is one of the stars in a packed Warrington Wolves side but he’s opened up and revealed that he attempted suicide as a teenager. The Samoan centre has spoken out in the hope he can provide a ‘blueprint’ for others, and was joined by George Williams who documented his cancer scare, and Matt Dufty who spoke in regard to the NRL media.

Hull FC injury update

Hull FC kick their season off this week as the Tony Smith era is set to begin, however the veteran Australian could be without three key players. Smith has spoken on the club site about the availability of three starters as Castleford Tigers head to the MKM stadium for round one.

How you can help raise funds for MND

Motor Neurone Disease and rugby league have become intertwined through the sad but inspiring tale of Rob Burrow. It’s a disease that as rugby league fans we’re all too aware of but it also highlights the best of our community. An example to show this is a 24 hour Touch Rugby Festival in the middle of June with all funds raised going towards the MND Association. Information about the amazing event can be found in the link here with organisers encouraging any and all involvement, be it 10 minutes or 10 hours.

Four Catalans ruled out of opener

It’s being reported by French media that four major names will miss the season opener for the Dragons. Fouad Yaha was confirmed already given that he’s undergone shoulder surgery that will rule him out for five months but it’s being reported by France Bleu that English stars Tomkins and McMeeken, as well as Samoan Tyrone May will also miss out.

Gale impresses for Keighley

With six of the seven games played in round two of the Championship we’ve broken down the results and what they all mean. Luke Gale had a far more enjoyable round two than round one and a side tipped for top six lost out in a game they were heavy favourites in. Week two didn’t disappoint, read more here.

NRL pundit quashes St Helens’ WCC chances

Another member of the Australian media has written off St Helens following the bold and brash statement from Phil Gould earlier this week. Gould believed Penrith could “declare” at half-time but now The Big Marn, or Darryl Brohamn, from The Footy Show has supported Gould claiming “Panthers win easily”.

Man of Steel favouritism shifts

Leigh Leopards’ hooker Edwin Ipape had been favourite for the Man of Steel award all off-season but a new name has since joined him at the top of the betting. With that news we have broken down who is in with a chance, making predictions for Man of Steel and also the Dream Team.

Salford secure future of star player

Only last week did Salford Red Devils tie down Brodie Croft on a mammoth deal that sees him remain with the club till 2030. That follows an off-season with plenty of other deals, Tim Lafai extending being another prime example. Today has marked investment for the future, but in the forwards this time, as Jack Ormondroyd has signed a new three-year-deal to remain at the AJ Bell.

Impressive Championship attendances

Whilst attendances didn’t hit the levels of last week where four teams posted figures of above 2,000, round two of the Championship still saw some great crowds pack into the stadiums. Featherstone Rovers led the way but one game still failed to make it into four figures.

Journo reveals NRL’s Saints snub

St Helens have made a winning start down under and they’re a week away from their World Club Challenge match with Penrith, however they’ve been issued with a weather warning in regards to the ‘deadly’ heat levels. That has been part of the reason so many Australian-based media has written them off, but one member of the press down under has called out the lack of respect shown to Paul Wellens’ men.

Tonight’s live rugby

York Knights host Bradford Bulls in the final game of the second round of the 2023 Championship season. It looks set to be a brilliant game at the LNER Stadium with Andrew Henderson’s men aiming to bounce back following a narrow defeat in round one, whilst Bradford look to make it two from two. Find out all the details here.

St Helens record impressive TV figures

The first round of the NRL ‘Pre-Season Challenge’ has been completed and the viewing figures have highlighted that there was demand to see St Helens. The Red Vee were among the most watched and that’s led to huge praise for full-back Jack Welsby, with one pundit likening him to an NRL great.

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