Rugby League is a sport which never sleeps and although the playing for 2018 is all over for the professional sides, there is plenty going on in the contracts departments and the sides look to strengthen their squads for the coming season.
We’ve had a look back at the news over the last week to pick up on stories which you might have missed to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening inside the greatest game.
Following several days of speculation Mitch Garbutt finally put his moniker on the bottom line to confirm his transfer to Hull KR for the 2019 season. The big prop was limited to just nine outings for Leeds in 2018 and will be hoping for more game time in his new colours.
Subject to his paperwork being in order, the Warrington Wolves have signed Huddersfield Giants Australian utility back Jake Mamo on a two year contract. Mamo will give cover at full back, centre or wing.
Salford Red Devils have secured the services of former Wigan Warriors and Widnes Vikings forward Gil Dudson on a two year deal at the AJ Bell Stadium. The twenty-eight year old has racked up eighty-nine performance for the Chemics over the last four seasons.
After being widely rumoured since the fixture release, it was confirmed that the 2019 Magic Weekend would be at Anfield in Liverpool, ending a four year run in Newcastle. The games will be played over the weekend of the 25th and 26th May, kicking off at 2pm on the Satirday and 1pm on the Sunday.
Hull KR added the signature of Aussie second rower Kane Linnett to that of Mitch Garbutt who confirmed his move from the Leeds Rhinos earlier in the week. The former Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys is twenty-nine and had signed on a three year deal. He has played at both second row and centre during his career.
After a ‘will he, won’t he’ saga the Rhinos confirmed that Trent Marrin will be wearing the Blue and Amber next season after securing his signature ahead of a number of NRL clubs. The Rhinos have had to buy out the last two years of his Penrith Panthers contract and have given him a four year deal as they seek to improve on last year’s disappointing season.
Leeds Rhinos announced that they had agreed new deals with long-standing servants Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Carl Ablett while Luke Briscoe has put his signature on a three year contract to stay at Headingley. The 7th May will mark the twentieth year of service for Jones-Buchanan who made his debut back in 1999. Briscoe had originally begun his career at Headingley before periods at Wakefield, Hunslet, Featherstone and Hull KR from where he rejoined Leeds on-loan at the end of last season.
Castleford centre Kieran Gill will join Newcastle Thunder for a season long loan in 2019. After sustaining an injury in 2017 which kept him out for ten months he has struggled to get into the team and spent a number pf periods on loan at Oldham.
The Catalans Dragons have announced that former Widnes Vikings backroom member Eamon O’Carroll will join their backroom staff as assistant to head coach Steve McNamara.
Women’s Super League star Rhiannion Marshall has caused quite a stir by signing for Castleford Tigers from arch rivals Leeds Rhinos for the 2019 season. Twenty-five year old Marshall had a successful season at Leeds with two final appearances and had been the captain for the last few games of the year.
Hull FC coach Lee Radford has suggested in the press that he’s completed his squad for 2019 and is unlikely to sign any new players for the 2019 season. Radford has stated that the arrival of Levy Nzoungou, Danny Langtree, Matty Dawson-Jones along with the return of Jordan Thompson gives him the depth of squad that he needs for the coming season.
Oldham forward Danny Bridge has been given a new twelve month deal with the club despite currently serving a nine month ban for assaulting a referee in a game against Keighley last July. The player had tackled referee Cameron Worsley, believeing him to be an opponent, and remains banned until April 2019.
Super League will implement the Australian NRL system of Golden Point for the 2019 season. In case of a draw at full time, there would be an additional ten minute period during which any score would win the game and taking the points. Should the additional ten minutes remain pointless then the game would be drawn with the league points shared. Other changes will include a reduction of interchanges from ten to eight and a ‘shot clock’ to reduce time wasting.
Rumours are circulating that Hull KR will seek to add Josh Drinkwater, Blake Ayshford and Morgan Smith to their side over the coming days and weeks although nothing has been confirmed for any of the three players with Drinkwater also being rumoured to be joining the Warrington Wolves. KR have one place left on their overseas quota.