With Christmas just around the corner, and a first run out for a few of our sides in festive friendlies, the rugby league world keeps turning. This week we’ve had another fine victory for England Academy, the naming of a new RFL President and the draw for the first round of the Challenge Cup.
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.
Former Arsenal stalwart footballer Tony Adams has been nominated as the 29th President of the Rugby Football League and he will succeed current president Andy Burhman next summer. Adams said: “It will be an honour to become the next President of the RFL. I am passionate about working with everyone in the sport to raise the profile of mental health, wellness and resilience, for players and for everyone in Rugby League. I’d like to play my part in championing this brilliant sport on the national stage.”
Luke Robinson will take over the assistant coaching role at Huddersfield Giants who parted company with Chris Thorman after six years at the club.
Jack Hughes was conformed as a Warrington Wolves player until at least 2022 after signing a three year contract extension. The second rower missed just one game last season and has been a regular since signing for the club in 2016.
Wakefield Trinity’s Australian stand-off Jacob Miller will be wearing the captain’s armband in 2019 allowing skipper of six years Danny Kirmond to focus on his continued rehabilitation and his own game in 2019.
It is rumoured that the Huddersfield Giants are poised to make an offer for Newcastle Knights winger Nathan Moss. The player is contracted until the end of 2020 but it is understood that the Knights will consider offers for the player.
A masterclass in defence from England Academy saw them secure a 2-0 series win over the Australian Schoolboy touring party when the two sides met at Emerald Headingley. England controlled the game for the full eighty minutes and in front of a crowd of over 1,500 they won by 18-6 thanks to two tries from St Helens player Jack Welsby and five goals from Wigan Warrior Harry Smith.
Red Star Belgrade entered the Challenge Cup in the opening round and will make the long journey to Millom in Cumbria for a tough first round try. Irish side Longhorns will travel to Castleford Lock Lane in a round which also saw the entry of three Armed Forces teams. The games will be played over the last weekend of January with one game to be streamed live on the BBC and a second carried live on the Our League App.
Hull KR youngster Joe Cator has signed a one year deal with the Leigh Centurions after failing to secure much game time in the 2018 season for the Robins after twice being sent out on loan.
Jamie Peacock is back at his home town club as he joins the commercial staff at Headingley after a couple of seasons in a similar role at Hull KR. He’s back at the club where he fund great success and completed his playing career.
St Helens prop forward Alex Walmsley has finally been given the all-clear to resume training following last year’s neck break. After seeing his specialist he was told that he was now strong enough to resume full contact for the first time since breaking his neck against the Warrington Wolves nine months ago.
Wigan Warriors have rewarded Harry Smith for his excellent performances for England Academy with a three year contract at the DW Stadium. Sam Powell and Josh Woods have also signed on the dotted line to secure their immediate futures at the Champions.
The NRL have announced a number of cosmetic rule changes for the 2019 season. These include reducing the scrum clock from 35 to 30 seconds and the drop out clock from 30 to 25 seconds. Dangerous neck or head contacts will attract a higher disciplinary tariff and players who are shown a card will be required to run from the field taking the most direct route to the dressing rooms. One final change will see the disciplinary committee able to look for other offences if a player is referred for a shoulder charge.