Carney opts for a move to France

Todd Carney

His troubles in the past have been well-documented and having been sacked by three NRL clubs, Todd Carney was on the lookout for a new club.

With few NRL clubs chasing him, Carney was forced to look overseas and as a result, he found a club – the Catalan Dragons.

Signing a three-year deal with the French-based Super League side, it is the start of a new adventure and career for the former NRL star.

After breaching the Code of Conduct of the Cronulla Sharks, the club sacked him. During that time and after previous stints with the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders, Carney played 166 games for the three clubs.

With fierce competition to sign Carney from rival clubs and rugby union, Catalans Dragons Chairman Bernard Guasch is pleased that Carney chose their club.

“We are delighted that a such talented player chose our club despite a fierce competition with other Super League and Rugby Union clubs,” said Guasch.

“My desire was to attract a world-class player for the tenth season of the Catalans Dragons in Super League and I think we can be really satisfied today.”

“After Stacey Jones, Greg Bird or Steve Menzies, it’s another world class player who decides to join our club.”

It was not all smooth sailing for Catalans, but they were glad that Carney chose their club.

With the need for a half after the departure of Karl Pryce, Carney fills a void and Catalans CEO Christophe Jouffret is excited to have Carney on board.

“It’s been tough negotiations to reach an agreement with Todd’s agent,” said Jouffret.

“His agent David Riolo has received a lot of propositions from different clubs but Todd has been convinced by our ambitious project for our tenth season in Super League.”

“We received the agreement for his agent today and we are now waiting for the green light of the RFL who will, I’m sure, register Todd.”

Catalans will stand by their new signing and they are confident that he will make the most of the opportunity.

“The Catalans Dragons Board is committed to support Todd Carney in his new life, far away from the media pressure he had in Sydney,” said Jouffret.

“Greg Bird, who now plays in the NRL and for Australia, resurrected his career during a 12-month spell in the south of France, and became, after his time here, the brilliant player he is now. I’m sure Todd will seize this great opportunity to show the great player he is. ”

“With Todd as the skipper, the show will be guaranteed at Gilbert Brutus stadium and everywhere for the pleasure of our fans and sponsors.”

Head Coach Laurent Frayssinous is pleased to sign Carney, regarded as one of the best players in the world.

“I’m really excited to add Todd Carney to the squad. He is one of the best players in the world,” said Frayssinous.

Tigers decide not to renew contract of coach Mick Potter

Mick Potter

It was the question on the mind of every Wests Tigers fan. Would they renew the contract of Mick Potter or would they opt to move on?

Well, the answer has been given. Despite holding the utmost respect for Potter and praising him for the work he has done as Tigers coach, the club has decided not to renew his contract.

The Tigers released a statement confirming as such and made it clear that their search for a new head coach has now begun.

The Tigers statement reads:

Wests Tigers has made the decision not to renew the contract of Head Coach Mick Potter.

Wests Tigers Board and management would like to thank Mick Potter for the professional manner in which he has conducted himself as Head Coach for the past two years. The Club acknowledges that this was often under difficult circumstances.

This has been a difficult decision for everyone involved but one that the Club believes is in the best interests of a successful future for Wests Tigers. Clearly there will be many disappointed fans as, to his credit, Mick has developed a strong following here. However, we ask that you trust that we have made this decision in the interests of a stronger, unified club, following a rigorous and fair process.

Mick Potter had been given three opportunities over the past six weeks to address the Board and present his vision and plan for Wests Tigers going forward. Taking this into account, the Wests Tigers Board and management agree that a fresh approach is needed and the Club will immediately begin a process to identify leading candidates for the role.

The newly appointed Head Coach will be given complete control over the appointment of all key football staff and his playing roster.

The Board and management of Wests Tigers would like to thank Mick Potter for his work over the past two years, and for the professional manner which he has conducted himself.

The Club plans to have in place a new Head Coach no later than October 27, ahead of the start of the pre-season on November 3.

Tigers junior opts to make the move to France

Jarred Farlow

He has been a staple of the Wests Tigers NSW Cup side for a few years now but the time is right for Jarred Farlow to make the move abroad.

Farlow will move to French rugby league side Lezignian Sangliers and the Leichhardt Wanderers junior is excited about the opportunity.

“A couple of the boys I know have gone over there [to France] and said the standard is pretty good,” said Farlow.

“Hopefully I can help the guys in the team now achieve their goals.”

The club is one that means a lot to Farlow and he is disappointed to leave.

“It’s hard to leave Wests Tigers,” said Farlow.

“I told the boys last week that I was going to go and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I made my debut here so the Club holds a special place in my heart and it’s definitely hard to go.”

With the French competition to end during the NSW Cup competition, Farlow says that if his body holds up, he will consider returning to the Tigers.

“The French competition does finish before June 30 next year, though, so if the body holds up, there’s always a chance I’ll be back next year,” he said.

“The future’s definitely bright for the Club here and hopefully the fans can stick by the Club and enjoy the good times that I’m sure aren’t too far away.”

Details and draw for 2015 Auckland Nines released

After the success of the tournament last year, the fanfare and hype surrounding the 2015 Auckland Nines is now in full swing, with details and the draw itself released by the NRL.

With four groups in total, each housing a local New Zealand name, the competition is sure to be full of surprises, great plays and individual skill.

For New Zealand viewers, they will be able to watch all the games on Sky Television and in an additional boost, the Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns will play three games against each other at the tournament.

With the event growing and developing as a spectacle, the NRL’s Football Operations Manager Nathan McGuirk said that including women’s teams in the event, was the next step.

“The spirit of the Auckland Nines is to create an event that we can develop and grow and the decision to include the women’s teams was the next natural step,” said McGuirk.

“Their inclusion creates more games and provides longer breaks for all teams participating as well as showcasing some of the best female players in the world.”

It was the fans and lovers of Auckland that were given the chance to choose the four group names. Their significance and background are as follows:

Rangitoto: the island’s famous volcanic cone.
Waiheke: the home of the nation’s wineries.
Piha: a rugged West Coast beach.
Hunua Ranges: a famous bush area.

With the names of the groups known, all 16 NRL teams have been allocated groups and they are as follows:

Rangitoto Group: Eels, Sea Eagles, Knights and Dragons.
Waiheke Group: Storm, Panthers, Cowboys and Rabbitohs.
Piha Group: Roosters, Broncos, Bulldogs and Sharks.
Hunua Group: Tigers, Warriors, Raiders and Titans.

After the huge success of the first tournament in 2014, Dick Smith CEO Nick Abboud said the company had no hesitations when it came to sponsoring the tournament again.

“After such a successful inaugural year and a sell-out stadium of 90,000, we are anticipating the 2015 tournament to exceed expectations once again,” Mr Abboud said.

“We know Auckland will put on a spectacular show and provide great atmosphere, not just in the stadium, but across the entire city.”

For the Jillaroos and the Kiwi Ferns, it is an honour to play in the competition with Kiwis fullback Sarina Fiso well aware of what the fixtures will do for the women’s game.

“This brings a massive boost to women’s rugby league back home, we don’t have many regular international fixtures so it’s going to bring a lot of interest to the game,” said Fiso.

“It’s something we’re really, really looking forward to.”

“The girls are going to be really stoked when they hear this. It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere.”

Former Bradford coach taking club to court claiming wrongful dismissal

Francis Cummins

It is hardly the situation you want to face as a club but at times, it happens, with the Bradford Bulls to be taken to court by one of their former coaches.

Francis Cummins, who was coach of the club for quite a while before being sacked in June, was expecting to be paid out the remainder of his contract but that never came.

With a financial settlement unable to be reached between club and Cummins, he felt that he had no other option.

As a result, Richard Cramer, the lawyer representing Cummins, said they expect to have the case heard before the Leeds High Court early next year.

“Francis was expecting the club to honour their obligation to pay through to the end of his contract,” said Cramer.

“Bradford have not been able to accommodate a settlement, despite attempts to do so.

“For this reason, and with a heavy heart, Francis has now issued proceedings in the Leeds High Court claiming damages for wrongful dismissal.”

The club have declined to comment on the matter.

Latin Heat continue rugby league development with new leading sponsor

Their rapid development is a pleasure to see for all fans of international rugby league and the Latin Heat have taken another step in the right direction, following the arrival of a new leading sponsor.

With a busy international schedule coming up, SHIELD Security have joined the Latin Heat organisation and is a big move for not only the club but also for the Latino community.

The Director of SHIELD Security is of South American descent himself – hailing from Peru – with the new deal to see the SHIELD logo in clear view on the Latin Heat jersey.

The deal will also see SHIELD become a leading partner of the upcoming internationals for the Latin Heat in 2015.

In the last 12 months since their inception and subsequent development in rugby league, Latin American Rugby League Director Rob Burgin, says their continued growth is encouraging.

“People were sceptical in 2013 that we could even form a side, but to date we have played five international teams and shown there is a passion in the Latino community,” said Burgin.

“While Australia has been a focal point for us getting the concept started, gradually, we are helping to encourage domestic interest in places such as Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, amongst others.

“If I told you that a country like El Salvador is probably less than 12 months away from having a rugby league team, you might not believe me.

“We’re thankful to have organisations like Shield who have shown confidence and belief. As recognition of what we offer grows in the Latino and rugby league communities, I have no doubt the concept will go from strength to strength.”

Successful loan spell sees Riley awarded with a permanent Wakefield move

Chris Riley

Loan spells can often see players make deals permanent for the next season and Chris Riley is in that boat, signing a permanent deal with the Wakefield Wildcats after a loan spell from the Warrington Wolves.

With a release from the Wolves now granted, Riley will play for the Wildcats in season 2015 on a 1-year deal.

The 26-year old is the fifth new face in the Wakefield side for next season and he has enjoyed the success at Wakefield since his move to the club.

“I’ve enjoyed the second half of the season and the success,” Riley said.

“It’s always nice when you’re winning but I think it’s a club that’s starting to move forward now and I’m seeing things happening on and off the field which are exciting.

“We’ve recruited well for next year which is getting me excited and I think, if we can build on the second half of this season and take it into next season, we can have a successful year as a team.”

Knowing what Riley is capable of as a player, Wildcats coach James Webster knows that he will be a crucial player in their side.

“Chris has played in some massive games over a long period at Warrington and will bring us a bit of experience,” said Webster.

“I think everyone can see from the performances that he’s put out this year that he’s going to be an asset to our club.”

Scottish international signs with the London Broncos

Ben Hellewell

He had a solid World Cup for Scotland and after plying his trade in the Championship, Ben Hellewell will get a chance to move to a bigger club, signing with the London Broncos.

Playing for Featherstone this season, the 22-year old is currently on loan with Dewsbury and the club – coach Joey Grima included – is pleased to have him at the club.

“We watched him in the Kingstone Press Championship and he was very impressive. He’s always been a kid that has been something special in Super League when given the chance,” said Grima.

With the opportunity to now play at a professional club, Hellewell knew that he had to jump at the chance.

“Switching to full-time training with the club will help my rugby career massively and, after speaking to people about the coaching staff, they couldn’t speak highly enough of them,” said Hellewell.

“The main reason I decided to sign for the club was the enthusiasm of Joey Grima to transform the club into a winning culture. All the players and staff I’ve spoken to are friendly and welcoming which I found inspirational.”

Veteran Tigers prop parts ways with club and signs with Huddersfield

Craig Huby

It is always hard to leave a club that is a part of you and one that you have been associated with for so long, but that is what Castleford Tigers prop Craig Huby has done.

Having played for the Tigers for 11 years, his tenure with the club is now over, with the veteran prop signing with the Huddersfield Giants for the nex 4 years.

At 28, Huby started his career when he was young and although he is sad to move on from the club he loves, he is excited with the new challenge.

“I have had a wonderful time at Castleford with this year being an obvious highlight and it is with some sadness that I move on,” Huby said.

“However, I decided that a fresh start and a new challenge would reinvigorate me and the club have known for some time that I would be moving on.

“The supporters have always been superb with me and I thank them and the players and coaches I have worked with.”

With Castleford still performing so well this year with the finals around the corner, Huby is committed to the cause until the end of the season.

“This year with (coach) Daryl (Powell) will forever be in my memory and I think we still have a great opportunity here in the coming weeks,” said Huby.

“That’s my sole focus but I wanted the news to come out so that I can concentrate on the rest of the season with Cas then look forward to next year at the Giants.”

Firing on all cylinders from an individual perspective, Giants coach Paul Andersona admits that Huby is a player he has had his eye on for some time.

“Craig is having a stellar season and is a player I have long admired,” said Anderson.

“His qualities are there for all to see and he has been a tower of strength for the Castleford club which he has served with such distinction over many years.

“He will bring new attributes to our forward pack which will complement many of the players around him and, when I heard he was looking for a fresh challenge, I made him my number one target for next season.

“I am delighted that he has chosen our club ahead of many others and we look forward to welcoming him for pre-season training in November.”

Eels junior signs with Bradford

Wayne Ulugia

Rugby league is all about the retention of juniors and at the Parramatta Eels, their large junior base is well documented across Australia.

Unable to retain all of their juniors, an issue that all clubs have, they are spread far and wide across a range of countries.

Another one has done just that, with Chris Ulugia, a Holden Cup graduate from the Eels, signing with English Super League side, the Bradford Bulls for the 2015 season.

For Ulugia, it is a new opportunity and one he looks forward to.

“This is a huge opportunity for me and I am delighted to be joining what is one of the most famous rugby league clubs on the planet,” said Ulugia.

“I cannot wait to arrive in England and get pre-season training under way, alongside some of my current team-mates.

“I am aware of the club’s aims for next year and I can assure the Bradford supporters that my eyes are solely fixed on helping the Bulls achieve promotion back up into Super League.”

Knowing how talented Ulugia is via word of mouth, Bradford coach James Lowes is excited to have the talented utility back on board.

“Chris is a great signing, coming from a club which boasts a fantastic pool of talent,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity for Chris and, having spoken to him, I know how determined he is to hit the ground running.

“Chris is another addition to an already blossoming squad and is a player whose pace and power will certainly prove beneficial next year.”