Category Archives: ESL/International RL

RLWC Teams Rd 1

Well, the momentous occasion has arrived. The Rugby League World Cup is here in all its glory and by gosh, is it slated to be a tremendous spectacle. Each team boasts their strengths and weaknesses and whilst the Kangaroos go in as favourites, can another team upset the apple cart?

With all that in mind, here are the teams for Rd 1 of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup:

Australian Kangaroos v England (#RLWC2017 & #AUSENG); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Friday, October 27. Kick-off: 8 pm (AEDT). 

Kangaroos1. Billy Slater 2. Dane Gagai 3. Will Chambers 4. Josh Dugan 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Michael Morgan 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Aaron Woods 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. David Klemmer 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Matt Gillett 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Wade Graham 15. Jordan McLean 16. Josh McGuire 17. Tyson Frizell.

Reserves: 18. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 19. Ben Hunt 20. Tom Trbojevic 21. Felise Kaufusi.

Coach: Mal Meninga.

England1. Jonny Lomax 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Sam Burgess 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Sean O’Loughlin (C).

Interchange: 14. Alex Walmsley 15. Chris Heighington 16. Thomas Burgess 17. James Roby.

Reserves: 18. Ben Currie 19. Kevin Brown 20. Mark Percival 21. Scott Taylor.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Ricky’s View: The Australians go into this game and the competition as favourites but the English side are not to be underestimated. Boasting a try-scoring freak at the World Cup in winger Ryan Hall and a forward pack filled with NRL stars, the English should provide the Australian side with some stiff competition. Kangaroos by 2.


Papua New Guinea Kumuls v Wales (#RLWC2017 & #PNGWAL); Oil Search NSF Stadium, Port Moresby; Saturday, October 28. Kick-off: 3 pm (local time) & 4 pm (AEDT).

PNG: 1. David Mead (C) 2. Justin Olam 3. Kato Ottio 4. Nene Macdonald 5. Garry Lo 6. Ase Boas 7. Watson Boas 8. Stanton Albert 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Luke Page 11. Rhyse Martin 12. Rod Griffin 13. Paul Aiton.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Willie Minoga 16. James Segeyaro 17. Enoch Maki.

Reserves: 18. Lachlan Lam 19. Stargroth Amean 20. Wellington Albert 21. Moses Meninga.

Wales: 1. Elliot Kear 2. Rhys Williams 3. Michael Channing 4. Andrew Gay 5. Regan Grace 6. Courtney Davies 7. Matt Seamark 8. Craig Kopczak (C) 9. Steve Parry 10. Phil Joseph 11. Rhodri Lloyd 12. Ben Morris 13. Morgan Knowles.

Interchange: 14. Matty Fozard 15. Sam Hopkins 16. Ben Evans 17. Chester Butler.

Reserves: 18. Josh Ralph 19. Dalton Grant 20. Christiaan Roets 21. Matthew Barron.

Coach: John Kear.

Ricky’s View: This is a fascinating clash. Both sides boast NRL and SL experience respectively, yet some are of the belief that outside of this game, neither is a genuine chance to go past the group stages. A win goes a long way in this tournament and both sides will be out to prove any doubters wrong. PNG led by Broncos utility back David Mead and Wales by Salford prop Craig Kopczak, both teams have a point to prove. PNG by 8.


New Zealand Kiwis v Samoa (#RLWC2017 & #NZLSAM); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday, October 28. Kick-off: 8:10 pm (local time) & 6:10 pm (AEDT). 

New Zealand: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Gerard Beale 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Martin Taupau 9. Thomas Leuluai 10. Adam Blair (C) 11. Kenny Bromwich 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Simon Mannering. 

Interchange: 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Russell Packer 16. Isaac Liu 17. Danny Levi.

Reserves: 18. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 19. Peta Hiku 20. Te Maire Martin 21. Addin Fonua-Blake.

Coach: David Kidwell.

Samoa: 1. Young Tonumaipea 2. Peter Mata’utia 3. Timoteo Lafai 4. Joey Leilua 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Joseph Paulo 7. Ben Roberts 8. Junior Paulo 9. Jazz Tevaga 10. Sam Lisone 11. Josh Papalii 12. Frank Pritchard (C) 13. Leeson Ah Mau. 

Interchange: 14. Pita Godinet 15. Herman Ese’ese 16 .Suaia Matagi 17. Bunty Afoa.

Reserves: 18. Zane Musgrove 19. Ricky Leutele 20. Frank Winterstein 21. Fa’amanu Brown.

Coach: Matt Parish.

Ricky’s View: With several Kiwis players missing due to suspension, injuries or poor form, the side boasts some debutants and newcomers to World Cups but it is formidable nevertheless. With many of the hopes likely to hinge on Shaun Johnson’s creativity and the experience of their forward pack.
The Samoan side is not to be underestimated, though, for they boast some talent of their own. Littered with NRL and SL talent, they have the chance to cause some upsets and ruffle some feathers in the competition. Samoa by 2. 


Fiji v USA (#RLWC2017 & #FIJUSA); Townsville Stadium; Saturday, October 28. Kick-off: 7:40 pm (local time) & 8:40 pm (AEDT).

Fiji: 1. Kevin Naiqama (C) 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Taane Milne 4. Akuila Uate 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Jarryd Hayne 7. Henry Raiwalui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Kane Evans 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Korbin Sims 13. Tui Kamikamica. 

Interchange: 14. Joe Lovodua 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Eloni Vunakece 17. Petero Benjamin Nakubuwai.

Reserves: 18. Brayden Wiliame 19. James Storer 20. Junior Roqica 21. Pio Seci.

Coach: Mick Potter.

USA: 1.Corey Makelim 2. Ryan Burroughs 3. Junior Vaivai 4. Jonathan Alley 5. Bureta Faraimo 6. Kristian Freed 7. Matthew Walsh 8. Eddy Pettybourne 9. David Marando 10. Mark Offerdahl (C) 11. Danny Howard 12. Matt Shipway 13. Nicholas Newlin. 

Interchange: 14. Sam Tochterman-Talbott 15. Andrew Kniesly 16. Steve Howard 17. Gabriel Farley.

Reserves: 18. Charles Joseph Cortolano 19. Joe Eichner 20. David Ulch 21. Joshua Rice.

Coach: Brian McDermott.

Ricky’s View: A young, budding US side that boasts a wealth of home-grown American talent, they will be looking to emulate their 2013 campaign as they surprised many and claimed scalps on their way to a quarterfinals berth. The question is; will it be enough to beat a strong Fijian side? This Fijian possesses numerous experienced NRL campaigners and their ambitions are bold and brave and they mean business; will their confidence echo their play, though? Fiji by 12


Ireland v Italy (#RLWC2017 & #IREITA); Barlow Park, Cairns; Sunday, October 29. Kick-off: 2 pm (local) & 3 pm (AEDT). 

Ireland: 1. Scott Grix 2. Shannon McDonnell 3. Ed Chamberlain 4. Michael Morgan 5. Liam Kay 6. Api Pewhairangi 7. Liam Finn (C) 8. Brad Singleton 9. Michael McIlorum 10. Kyle Amor 11. Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook 12. Oliver Roberts 13. George King. 

Interchange: 14. Tyrone McCarthy 15. James Hasson 16. Joe Philbin 17. Anthony Mullally.

Reserves: 18. Joe Keyes 19. Will Hope 20. Jack Higginson 21. Matty Hadden.

Coach: Mark Aston.

Italy: 1. James Tedesco 2. Mason Cerruto 3. Justin Castellaro 4. Nathan Milone 5. Josh Mantellato 6. Terry Campese 7. Jack Johns 8. Paul Vaughan 9. Ryan Ghietti 10. Daniel Alvaro 11. Joel Reithmuller 12. Mark Minichiello 13. Nathan Brown (C). 

Interchange: 14. Colin Wilkie 15. Brenden Santi 16. Shannon Wakeman 17. Jayden Walker.

Reserves: 18. Christophe Calegari 19. Christopher Centrone 20. Joey Tramontana 21. Gavin Hiscox.

Coach: Cameron Ciraldo.

Ricky’s View: Of all the sides regarded as minnows, the Italians, along with Fiji, are the team that many pundits believe have the best chance to pushing the top sides all the way and potentially beating them. Capitalising on the use of players not selected for the top sides, the Italians embody pride and spirit and will use that to fuel themselves throughout the competition.
Ireland, led by veteran Liam Finn, will use their own skills and luck of the Irish, to show that they are here to play and are not pushovers. Italy by 10.


Scotland Bravehearts v Tonga Mate Ma’a (#RLWC2017 & #SCOTON); Barlow Park, Cairns; Sunday, October 29. Kick-off: 4:15 pm (local) & 5:15 pm (AEDT).

Scotland: 1. Lewis Tierney 2. Matty Russell 3. Ben Hellewell 4. Lachlan Stein 5. Will Oakes 6. Danny Brough (C) 7. Danny Addy 8. Luke Douglas 9. Kane Bentley 10. Ben Kavanagh 11. Frankie Mariano 12. Dale Ferguson 13. James Bell. 

Interchange: 14. Callum Phillips 15. Andrew Bentley 16. Sam Brooks 17. Johnny Walker.

Reserves: 18. Alex Walker 19. Jarred Anderson 20. Kieran Moran 21. Brandon Wilkinson.

Coach: Steve McCormack.

Tonga: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Siliva Havili 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Sika Manu (C) 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Sam Moa 16. Peni Terepo 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Reserves: 18. Joe Ofahengaue 19. Solomone Kata 20. David Fusitu’a 21. Samisoni Langi.

Coach: Kristian Woolf.

Ricky’s View: The Pacific Island nations have all brought their a-games to this tournament. You only have to take one look at the depth of talent across that Tongan side to know that they will most certainly ruffle some feathers in the tournament. A huge pack of in-form forwards and an experienced back-line, if the team gels, the others may want to be on their toes.
Scotland, on the flip side, has a young team that will be eager to do their country proud and make a name for themselves as individuals and as a team. In the Rugby League World Cup, anything is possible. Tonga by 10.


France Les Bleus v Lebanon Cedars (#RLWC2017 & #FRALEB); Canberra Stadium; Sunday, October 29. Kick-off: 4 pm.

France: 1. Mark Kheirallah 2. Fouad Yaha 3. Bastien Ader 4. Damien Cardace 5. Ilias Bergal 6. Theo Fages (C) 7. William Barthau 8. Antoni Maria 9. Eloi Pelissier 10. Julian Bousquet 11. Benjamin Garcia 12. Benjamin Jullien 13. Jason Baitieri. 

Interchange: 14. Clement Boyer 15. Nabil Djalout 16. Thibault Margalet 17. Lucas Albert.

Reserves: 18. John Boubedza 19. Olivier Arnaud 20. Mickael Rouch 21. Romain Navarette.

Coach: Aurelien Cologni.

Lebanon: 1. Anthony Layoun 2. Travis Robinson 3. James Elias 4. Jason Wehbe 5. Abbas Miski 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Robbie Farah (C) 8. Tim Mannah 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Alex Twal 11. Chris Saab 12. Ahmad Ellaz 13. Nick Kassis. 

Interchange: 14. Mitchell Mamary 15. Elias Sukkar 16. Jaleel Seve-Derbas 17. Andrew Kazzi.

Reserves: 18. Adam Douehihi 19. Bilal Maarbani 20. Jamie Clark 21. Danny Barakat.

Coach: Brad Fittler.

Ricky’s View: Brad Fittler will certainly use all of his coaching experience and knowledge to get the Lebanese side performing strongly and led by Robbie Farah along with other NRL stars, they will put up a fight and be competitive, nor will they die wondering.
For the Les Bleus, World Cups are now second nature to them and whilst in the past, they may not have lived up to their own expectations, there is a belief that they can come together and perform. Lebanon by 2. 


 

Leigh continue to set high ambitions with signing of Warriors forward

Bodene Thompson

Not a team to beat around the bush, the Leigh Centurions have made their ambitions clear; they want a return to the Super League after a taste of that environment.

Relegated back to the Championship, Leigh continues to go from strength to strength and have signed New Zealand Warriors back-rower Bodene Thompson on a 2-year deal.

Having previously played for the Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans prior to joining the Warriors, Thompson established himself as one of the club’s top back-rowers during his time at the Warriors.

With numerous players coming in and positions up for grabs, however, something had to give but his departure to Leigh is one that has the club excited.

“This is a real quality signing for the Club,” said club owner Derek Beaumont.

“I am really excited to have Bodene at our Club.

I was a little dubious when Kez said he had landed this one and as time pressed on I had thought it wasn’t going to happen with us being in the Championship.”

Beaumont did not hold back with praise, as he looks forward to the impact that Thompson can provide for the club.

“But fair play to him, he worked hard to get it over the line and big respect to Bodene for buying into what we are doing,” continued Beaumont.

“He plays the style of rugby I love to watch and I am really looking forward to meeting him.”

Centurions head coach Neil Jukes believes that Thompson is a signing that will please the club’s fans on and off the field.

“Bodene’s signing is a big coup for Leigh Centurions,” said Jukes.

“He has lots of experience and has played for some big NRL clubs. Kez has done a marvellous job to get it over the line.

“Bodene is a hard running, tough tackling edge player which is pretty much everything you want from someone in that position.

“The fans will surely enjoy watching Bodene ply his trade in the great jersey of Leigh Centurions.”

 

Former NRL utility opts to remain with Leigh

Daniel Mortimer

The Leigh Centurions have received a boost in their bid to return to the Super League with talented utility Daniel Mortimer re-signing for the 2018 season.

After reported overtures from the Cronulla Sharks about a possible return, Mortimer made the decision to stay with Leigh instead.

Scoring twice in 7 games for the Centurions, Mortimer was in good form before a bicep injury ended his season.

That injury prompted Mortimer to stay with the utility admitting that he has unfinished business as a Leigh player.

“I can’t wait to get back on the field in a Leigh jersey,” said Mortimer.I feel I have got unfinished business there. I came to do a job and was gutted when I got injured and was unable to play my part, it was really hard watching what happened from the side.

“I feel I have got unfinished business there. I came to do a job and was gutted when I got injured and was unable to play my part, it was really hard watching what happened from the side.”

With a passionate and loyal fanbase, Mortimer knew he owed it to them to stay as he looks to help them regain their Super League status.

“The fans made me feel really welcome and I owe it to them to work hard to get back to Super League next year and I am fully committed to playing my part in that,” continued Mortimer.

His impact did not go unnoticed by the club with head coach Neil Jukes praising Mortimer for his impact on and off the field.

“I am delighted that Daniel is returning to our Club,” said Jukes.He made a big impact as soon as he came over, both on game day and in practice.

“He made a big impact as soon as he came over, both on game day and in practice.”

He praised Mortimer for his performances and knows that he will become a key part of the Leigh side in 2018.

“He got in some really solid performances until injury ruled him out for the rest of the season,” continued the head coach.

“As we continue on our journey, we need outstanding and professional athletes like Daniel whose resume speaks for itself.”

English club Barrow sign Italian World Cup forward

Alec Susino

As they undergo somewhat of a player overhaul in an attempt to revamp their roster, English Championship side Barrow Raiders have kick-started signings with an Italian forward, signing Alec Susino.

Susino, who was a Cronulla Sharks junior, has most recently been playing for Mounties RLFC across numerous grades in the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competitions.

Barrow made it to the championship after a play-off win against Whitehaven in the League 1 championship.

Following their tense finish to the season, Barrow coach Paul Crarey is pleased to have secured the signature of Susino.

“We have actually signed a player that is in the World Cup,” said Crarey. “He has played all his junior football for Cronulla Sharks. He is an exciting young fellow with massive potential.

“He has played all his junior football for Cronulla Sharks. He is an exciting young fellow with massive potential.

“He is now playing for Mounties, which is a feeder team for Canberra Raiders.”

Crarey went on to praise Susino’s size, tackling prowess and motor as assets that will prove valuable for the club.

“He is a very exciting young player, very passionate, he is a big unit and can play,” continued Crarey.

“He can run hard and tackle hard, and he has a great passing game, which is something we need when we go up a level, and he can play big minutes as well.”

In the end, a personal connection with Susino’s agent aided the deal taking place despite interest from other Championship clubs and Crarey is just pleased to have the forward on board.

“He has had a couple of offers from other Championship clubs but his agent is a good friend of mine – he has played Super League and I have coached him – and that has probably got it over the line,” said Crarey.

 

Young Souths forward makes the move to Wigan

Gabe Hamlin

Recommended to the club by former Wigan boss Michael Maguire and former player Pat Richards, young South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Gabe Hamlin will swap the cardinal and myrtle for the colours of Wigan, signing a 2-year deal.

The young forward will join Wigan in November for pre-season and at just 20 years old and 47 appearances in the U20’s Holden Cup to his name, the club is pleased to have a young, blooming forward joining them.

“My recent visit to Australia was primarily about our 2018 trip to Wollongong and Sydney however, along the way, I met with a few familiar faces including Michael Maguire and Pat Richards,” said Wigan’s Executive Director, Kris Radlinski.

“Having worked with us as a Club and more recently with Gabriel, both Michael and Pat mentioned that he was available and that he would be the perfect fit for Wigan. Michael’s words were ‘he is someone who is made for our environment’.

“A wise head on young shoulders, we believe that Gabriel has the potential to blossom here at Wigan.”

Wigan coach Shaun Wane spoke of the club’s desire to find, nurture and develop young talent.

“We are always on the lookout for talented players that have a good attitude and a real determination to improve,” said Wane.

“Developing players is a part of coaching that I really enjoy and at Wigan, we have a great record of bringing in players and taking them to the next level.”

When the recommendations came from both Maguire and Richards, it was an opportunity too hard to pass up for Wigan.

“When people like Michael Maguire and Pat Richards are both recommending a player to you, then you take that recommendation very seriously and we all believe that Gabriel is a talented forward who can really fulfil his potential here at Wigan,” continued Wane.

“We can’t wait to have him join us.”

Hamlin is excited at the challenge that awaits and has some ties to the country, with his mother born in England.

“I’m really excited about joining Wigan and I’m flattered that they think me worthy of this opportunity,” said Hamlin. I’m very proud of my English heritage, my Mum was actually born in Blackpool.

“I’m very proud of my English heritage, my Mum was actually born in Blackpool.

“Although I’ve never been to the UK before, I’ve heard great things about it. I have studied up on Wigan’s great history and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to represent the Club next season.

I have studied up on Wigan’s great history and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to represent the Club next season.”

Hamlin intends to make the most of the new challenge and wants to impress all involved at the club.

“I watch Super League regularly and I am prepared for the challenge that awaits,” continued the young forward. It’s very exciting and I intend on making the most of this chance.”

“It’s very exciting and I intend on making the most of this chance.”

He may return to Sydney sooner rather than later, with Wigan set to take on the Bunnies in an international doubleheader in February.

 

 

 

Eldest Mata’utia joins the Leigh Centurions

Peter Mata’utia

After stints with both the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons, a new chapter beckons for experienced utility back Peter Mata’utia after he signed a three-year deal with the Leigh Centurions.

After failing to come to an agreement with the Knights over a contract, Mata’utia announced that he would instead be departing the club and looking for a new one.

In the end, the Leigh offer came knocking and the club could not be happier.

“This is a significant signing for the Club and demonstrates one of the benefits of having Keiron at the Club,” said club owner, Derek Beaumont. I know that some people were disappointed when we did business with Warrington on Bryson Goodwin and I hope this news shows our clear intentions.

“I know that some people were disappointed when we did business with Warrington on Bryson Goodwin and I hope this news shows our clear intentions.”

The club, fully aware of Mata’utia’s versatility and ability, look forward to seeing him don their jersey and performing well.

“Peter is a proven quality NRL player who has been ever-present this season and has plenty of energy in his game,” continued Beaumont.

“He has age on his side and will add a lot to the squad and be a pleasure to watch in a Leigh Centurions shirt.

“Although Peter joins us in the Championship, he is aware of our Club’s ambitions and his signing is indicative of his belief in that vision. I look forward to welcoming him to our Famileigh.”

Former NRL head coach appointed new coach of Warrington

Steve Price

The coaching landscape is an ever-changing environment given the cutthroat nature of the business and Steve Price, after a stint as St George Illawarra Dragons head coach and numerous assistant roles, is back at the helm in the top job.

Super League side Warrington confirmed that Price would assume the role as head coach on a new 2-year deal.

With Tony Smith departing, the Wolves sought out Price who in recent years, has been an assistant with the Cronulla Sharks who made the grand final and won the premiership in 2016.

After his retirement as a player, Price moved into coaching and worked under Wayne Bennett in 2010 at the St George Illawarra Dragons before remaining there until he soon became head coach.

Warrington Chief Executive Karl Fitzpatrick believes that Price is the right man for the job and believes he has the tools to succeed at Warrington and in the Super League.

“Following completion of a thorough and extensive search, we firmly believe that in Steve Price we have found the right man to bring success to Warrington Wolves,” said Fitzpatrick.

“As a result of his involvement in two NRL Grand Final winning clubs, Steve fully understands what is required to deliver that success; he is regarded as having a major influence on the Sharks’ 2016 Grand Final win and he is highly respected by all of their players.

“As a result of his involvement in two NRL Grand Final winning clubs, Steve fully understands what is required to deliver that success; he is regarded as having a major influence on the Sharks’ 2016 Grand Final win and he is highly respected by all of their players.

With expectations always high for a club as prestigious as Warrington, the bar is set at a certain standard but the club has faith in their appointment of Price to meet them and challenge them.

“During our detailed discussions, Steve clearly demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the game in both attack and defence, and he has a great awareness of Super League,” continued Fitzpatrick.  Steve has a reputation for attention to detail when it comes to his team’s preparation and performance, and he is acutely aware of the high expectations we have here at Warrington.

“Steve has a reputation for attention to detail when it comes to his team’s preparation and performance, and he is acutely aware of the high expectations we have here at Warrington.

In the end, it was strong praise from both Wayne Bennett and Sharks coach Shane Flanagan – coupled with what they thought of Price, to begin with – that gave him the nod for the role.

“Steve was one of the youngest to secure a head coach role in the NRL, and we are certain that this experience will put him in good stead,” said Fitzpatrick. We received resoundingly positive feedback at all stages of the recruitment process, with Steve being highly recommended by some of the sport’s most successful coaches and influential players.”

“We received resoundingly positive feedback at all stages of the recruitment process, with Steve being highly recommended by some of the sport’s most successful coaches and influential players.”

Some of that praise from Flanagan highlighted the influential nature of Price at the Sharks.

“His knowledge and support has been invaluable for me as head coach and I know the playing group here at the Sharks will be disappointed to see him leave for season 2018,” said Flanagan.

Just as pleased as Warrington is the man himself who wants to start things on the right track as he looks forward to the pre-season and season ahead.

“I’m excited to be heading to the UK and being part of the Warrington Wolves for 2018,” said Price.

“I’m grateful to be leading this great club with such a passionate fan base and prestigious history. I endeavour to build a tough and resilient football team, that will be attractive to watch and will enhance the Wire brand.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Warrington Wolves Board, CEO, office and playing group. As well as getting to know the supportive Wire community.”

Titans forward makes the move to Leeds

Nathaniel Peteru

With more opportunities up for grabs, Gold Coast Titans forward Nathaniel Peteru has opted to head to the Super League to sign a three-year deal with the Leeds Rhinos.

Peteru, who had been with the Titans since 2015, was also a former New Zealand Warriors player and with the new opportunity in front of him, the hulking forward is excited at what lies ahead.

“I am really looking forward to joining the Rhinos,” said Peteru.

“I see it as a fresh challenge for me and I am excited about the opportunity to come on board with the team.

We have been talking for a while but has speeded up over the last few weeks.”

With his family coming along for support, Peteru looks forward to partaking in a new league, full of new challenges and experiences.

My family and I are looking forward to coming to Leeds and for me personally playing in a new competition is something that inspires me,” continued the forward.Having watched Leeds, I know they have a winning culture and that is something I want to be part of but most of all I am coming for the challenge.

“Having watched Leeds, I know they have a winning culture and that is something I want to be part of but most of all I am coming for the challenge.”

Ultimately, Peteru wants to be able to perform at a higher level from an individual perspective and after talking with Kylie Leuluai, his decision was made easier.

“I want to come to England and take my game to the next level. I believe I can do that with Leeds with a successful team and a successful coach,” said Peteru. I have known Kylie Leuluai for a number of years. I watched him when I was growing up in New Zealand and followed his career when he was at Leeds. Talking to him put my mind at ease when I was looking to come over for a new challenge. Brian McDermott and I have had a couple of conversations and he has been really positive about what I can do. He wants me to push to become a starting forward eventually and that is something I want to do consistently.”

“I have known Kylie Leuluai for a number of years. I watched him when I was growing up in New Zealand and followed his career when he was at Leeds. Talking to him put my mind at ease when I was looking to come over for a new challenge. Brian McDermott and I have had a couple of conversations and he has been really positive about what I can do. He wants me to push to become a starting forward eventually and that is something I want to do consistently.”

Talking to him put my mind at ease when I was looking to come over for a new challenge.”

He also spoke with head coach Brian McDermott who sets goals for Peteru and inspired to create strong ambitions.

“Brian McDermott and I have had a couple of conversations and he has been really positive about what I can do,” he continued.

“He wants me to push to become a starting forward eventually and that is something I want to do consistently.”

As for the club, coach McDermott admits that they were keeping tabs on Peteru for a while and when the opportunity came up to sign him, they made their move.

“Nathaniel is someone we have been keeping an eye on for a while and the opportunity arose to bring him over for next season,” said McDermott. He is an impressive individual who spoke passionately to us about his commitment to the Rhinos and what he wants to achieve in his own game and with the Rhinos. Moving your family to the other side of the world is not something that anyone takes lightly and it is a measure of Nathaniel’s desire to be successful with the Rhinos that he is ready to come over and be part of our club.”

“He is an impressive individual who spoke passionately to us about his commitment to the Rhinos and what he wants to achieve in his own game and with the Rhinos.”

McDermott praised Peteru’s desire to move to the other side of the world with his family to become a better player.

Moving your family to the other side of the world is not something that anyone takes lightly and it is a measure of Nathaniel’s desire to be successful with the Rhinos that he is ready to come over and be part of our club,” concluded McDermott.

Knights back-rower opts to return to England

Joe Wardle

Some overseas endeavours work out and others do not and for Joe Wardle, despite trying to make a go of the NRL with the Newcastle Knights, he made a decision to return to  England.

Wardle, who has so far played 15 games for the Newcastle Knights, previously played for the Huddersfield Giants and will head back to England, signing with the Castleford Tigers.

The Scottish international thanked the opportunity given to him by the Knights and looks forward to his time at the Tigers.

“I would just like to say thank you to Newcastle for working alongside me in what has been a hard time adjusting to life down under,” said Wardle.Rugby careers are short so happiness is key and sometimes things don’t work out, which

“Rugby careers are short so happiness is key and sometimes things don’t work out, which is, unfortunately, the case.

I am really looking forward to getting back home, getting my family settled and teaming up with Daryl and the rest of the boys for the 2018 campaign.”

As for the Castleford club themselves, coach Daryl Powell is pleased to have Wardle signed for several seasons.

“Joe Wardle is a player that I have been a fan of for a number of years since his time at Huddersfield,” said Powell.

“I am delighted that on returning to England he has decided that we are the club to help him achieve his goals in the game.”

His versatility is also a key reason behind the decision to sign Wardle.

“He is a tough player on both sides of the game being a great line runner on attack and a solid aggressive defender,” continued Powell.

“He can play in both centre and back row positions which strengthens us significantly and grows our competition for places within an already awesome squad.

I look forward to his arrival at the club and getting him accustomed to how we play.”

New chapter for Mortimer after signing with Leigh

Daniel Mortimer

Always looking to improve their side in a bid to stay in the Super League, the Leigh Centurions have signed former NRL utility Daniel Mortimer until the end of the 2019 season.

Mortimer, who has played for the Parramatta Eels, the Sydney Roosters, the Gold Coast Titans and the Cronulla Sharks, is a utility that can cover five-eighth, halfback and hooker, with that versatility a key asset in the eyes of the club.

“Daniel is another proven quality NRL player with lots of experience at the highest level, including Grand Finals,” said Leigh owner Derek Beaumont.

“He is a running pivot with a great kicking game and can also run at nine so is a very versatile player.

“Again, it is all money but it is not only about ensuring we maintain our Super League status, it is also about improving the squad for next year as I want this club to become more and more competitive so that over time we can win something.”

With the new challenge ahead, Mortimer looks forward to what his stint with Leigh.

“I’m really looking forward to this next chapter in my career,” said Mortimer.

“I have been following Leigh closely now for the past six weeks and I hope I can play a significant role for the club between now and season’s end.”

The option of playing overseas has always appealed to Mortimer and whilst he knows it will be a different kettle of fish, he looks forward to what lies ahead.

“Playing overseas has always been an attraction and I am lucky that a great club like Leigh took the initiative to recruit me,” said Mortimer.

“It will be challenging but I’m always up for a challenge and hopefully we will do well in the weeks ahead.”