Category Archives: ESL/International RL

McKinnon leaves Hull

Wade McKinnon

He may have only been there for 6 months, but former Rabbitohs, Eels and Warriors fullback Wade McKinnon will leave his current ESL side Hull FC, and his 3-year contract with them – citing personal reasons as the decision behind the move.

McKinnon, 31, made the decision to seek a release from the club, after his family failed to settle in the East Yorkshire region – with McKinnon to return home to be with his family.

Shaun McRae, the Director of Rugby League at Hull FC, said:

“Wade has left the club to return to Australia and we thank him for his contribution to the team over the last six months.

“We wish him well upon his return home and in his future career.”

McKinnon had the following to say, about his time with Hull FC:

“I have really enjoyed playing with the team during my time in Hull and have made some really good friends here.

“I would like to wish them and the club the best of luck for the remainder of the season.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support at Hull FC during my time at the club, as well as Peter Gentle and Shaun McRae for their understanding of the situation and allowing me to return home.”

Italian RL media release

The Italia RFL will open its season on 28th of April at 3pm, presenting itself and its future development plans, at the prestigious Sala Rossa at CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) in Rome. 

On the occasion of its national congress, the Rugby a 13 Federation will illustrate the 2012 sport program, the Coppa Italia, and the R-Evolution League. It will be an opportunity to gather all the members in a moment of revival of our movement, presenting the achievements and future plans.

The Federation will approve some new board member positions and new clubs will enter into the family of Italia RFL, in another step forward toward the revival toward the 1960’s movement.

At the same time, it will be set a few bureaucratic steps that will change the legal position of the Federation, to take another small step towards professionalism.

Regards,

Joel Morgan
International Referral
Italia Rugby Football League – IFRL
www.irfleague.it

Former St George coach now at St Helens

During his tenure at the Dragons, he was a fan favourite, and he got along with the players. Now, former Dragons coach Nathan Brown has signed on to be the new coach of St Helens, for the next 3 years.

The deal will start next season, once his current contract with the Huddersfield Giants expires – with Eamonn McManus, the Saints Chairman saying:

We are extremely pleased that Nathan will be joining us next season. I believe he is ideally suited for the Saints both with regard to the way we want to play and as to what we aim to achieve in terms of success.

“He is still a relatively young coach but already has pedigree and experience gained over many years as a Head Coach at the highest levels both in the NRL and in Super League.”

Kieron Cunningham, who is the assistant coach at St Helens said:

We are extremely pleased that Nathan will be joining us next season. I believe he is ideally suited for the Saints both with regard to the way we want to play and as to what we aim to achieve in terms of success.

“He is still a relatively young coach but already has pedigree and experience gained over many years as a Head Coach at the highest levels both in the NRL and in Super League.”

The man himself is pleased to have the opportunity to work with St Helens, and looks forward to the challenges it will bring.

“It’s an honour to be appointed the Head Coach of St.Helens. They are a great and historic club and continuously associated with success; I’m relishing the challenge for next season onwards. They have a strong first team squad and more promising youngsters coming through their system, along with a great new stadium and training facility.

“That said, this season is all about Huddersfield Giants for me and it’s good to get this announcement out of the way so that I can concentrate totally on the job at hand.”

Wales announce France friendly

With the international presence in rugby league forever expanding, fans of international rugby league will receive a boost – with the Welsh national side announcing that they will play a friendly in June, against the French.

The match between the two semi-powerhouse nations, will take place at the Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium in Wrexham, on Saturday June 16 – which is the same day as England’s first game against the Exiles.

In an additional boost for the game itself, with no club matches scheduled for that particular weekend – it will allow both teams to field their strongest possible sides.

This particular international will be Wales first mid-season game in 11 years, and the first time they have played against France in an international, since October 2010.

“To be able to put on a mid-season Test shows a bit of progression to where we’ve come as we’ve not been in the position to do that in years gone by,” said Harris.

“Hopefully this will increase to two or three in years to follow.

“It’s going to be more difficult for us as there are a good number of our squad playing rugby league in Australia and we won’t be able to call on them for this match.

“But this means that a number of other players will get the opportunity to play and prove that they are good enough to be in the squad for the end of the year.

“It’s a progression game for us. Can we compete against a very strong French side with a couple of numbers down?

“It’s an important game for us to see where we’ve come as a squad. It will be an interesting game.”

Ellis signs with Hull FC

His departure is known to all in Tigers circles, and to rub salt into the wound – Hull FC have announced the signing of Tigers second-rower Gareth Ellis to a three-year deal, starting in 2013.

“I was lucky to have a few clubs interested, but I’ve been listening to Hull and to the ambition they have got and the prospects they’re trying to put in place for the future and the bottom line for me was that it was a great time to be involved with Hull FC,” said Wests Tigers Ellis.

“I did a lot of research into the club and speaking to the likes of Peter, Adam Pearson and Shaun McRae, I really started to share their enthusiasm and I believe the club can be anything it wants to be.”

He continued, “I said originally that I would maybe like to return to one of my old clubs or my hometown club in Castleford but when I looked at it and thought about it more, I realised I still really wanted to win things and achieve things and I really believe I can do that at Hull FC.”

Should the Tigers not win the NRL premiership this season, Ellis leaves the Tigers and the NRL, with an impressive stint under his belt – winning the Tigers player of the year award for 3 years straight.

“I was lucky to have a few clubs interested, but I’ve been listening to Hull and to the ambition they have got and the prospects they’re trying to put in place for the future and the bottom line for me was that it was a great time to be involved with Hull FC,” continued Ellis.

“I said originally that I would maybe like to return to one of my old clubs or my hometown club in Castleford but when I looked at it and thought about it more, I realised I still really wanted to win things and achieve things and I really believe I can do that at Hull FC.”

The Sharks keen on Briscoe

With the winger set to be highly sought after once his ESL contract is up, or even before, NRL side the Cronulla Sharks have told Hull FC winger Tom Briscoe, that he has a contract waiting for him in 2013, should he decide to sign with the club.

The one sticking point in such a deal materialising however, is the fact that Briscoe is contracted to his ESL side until the end of the 2013 season, with the club not keen on allowing their star winger to leave the club early.

Working in the Sharks favour is a member of the coaching staff – with former Hull FC coach Peter Sharp, now an assistant at Cronulla.

Despite the alleged interest however, with the likelihood of having to pay a transfer fee to get Briscoe to come next year, it is unlikely the Sharks will make a play for him for 2013.

“Tom absolutely loves Hull FC and loves playing for Hull FC. He won’t do anything to disrespect that fact,” Riolo said.

“Tom has said that down the track the NRL is something he is interested in and he would like to play here one day. If I can facilitate that wish then I will do what I can, but Tom is a Hull player.”

Such is the keenness of Briscoe to one day play in the NRL, he and his partner were in Australia, to meet with his agent, and to discuss potential deals with a number of NRL clubs.

“Tom is contracted to Hull until the end of 2013. If there is any change in his plans we will speak to Hull, but at the minute Tom is looking at the NRL as something down the track.”

Although his stature and allure is not of the magnitude of his current English compatriots in the NRL (Sam Burgess, Gareth Ellis & James Graham) – there are clubs on the lookout for a winger of Briscoe’s talent.

With room for improvement in his game, his agent David Riolo only sees improvement for the young winger, and predicts he will be a big hit in the NRL, when he does play here.

“He’ll be a star, he’s an outstanding player and that’s why I am involved with him,” said Riolo.

“Tom is a great professional, he works really hard, he’s a great person too.

“We’ve seen players like James Graham, Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis come over and do very well and Tom would assimilate just as well into the NRL.”

Hull FC coach Peter Gentle has spoken regularly with Briscoe on the issue, and remains confident that the winger will remain with the club, at least until his contract ends.

“I’ve had a few good chats with Tom about it and he is destined to go to the NRL at some stage and I think it would be great for him,” said Gentle.

“He is getting offers and good players do get offers. He’s looking to go over there but if it was the end of this year NRL clubs would have to pay compensation for him and I know in the NRL they are very reluctant to do that.

“From our side of the fence we have an international winger and we can’t just release him a year early. But he’s not in a hurry to leave and he’s told me he is more than happy to stay.

“He knows what we are building here, but he will find his way to the NRL eventually.”

Orange to host international RL game

For quite some time, people have talked about getting high-profile games played in country regions – and with Mudgee getting the City-Country clash, it is now Orange’s turn to host an international game.

Local side, the Orange Barbarians, who play in the Centennial Coal Cup, will play host to Mount Hagen, a team from Papua New Guinea, from Friday February 17 to Sunday February 19.

The PNG side will first play an Aboriginal All-Stars team on the Friday at Endeavour Oval, before backing up in time to play the Barbarians on Sunday.

It is an opportunity that does not come around very often for a town like Orange, and Troy Sweeting, the president of the Barbarians club, knew that they could not pass up the chance to bring the PNG side down for a rugby league game.

“Council approached myself and we talked about us playing this game,” he said.

“They’re footy-mad over there (in PNG) and I put it to the fellas, and we thought it’d be a good idea to get an Aboriginal All Stars team together, and that’s where the concept started.

“It’s a good opportunity to show off local talent.

“It’s good for the Aboriginal community.”

With the PNG side visiting, Sweeting says that it will allow the two cultures to intersect with each other.

“We have no idea what to expect,” he said.

“It’s just all about showing off two cultures – our’s and theirs.”

Hickey unable to play for his ESL side

Former Bulldog Jarrad Hickey will be unable to play for the London Broncos during the 2012 ESL season, as the club already has five non-Federation trained players.

Under the current ESL rules, all clubs are to have no more than 5 of these players – and if Hickey had joined the club, he would have been the 6th non-Federation trained player – hence being a breach of the rules.

The club have attempted to resolve the situation, but they have been unable to do so.

Despite not being able to play, the club will now work with Hickey, as both club and player search for alternative playing options for the forward.

Super League Magic Weekend 2012

Local rivalries will once again take centre stage on Magic Weekend when Etihad Stadium, Manchester, hosts a full round of Stobart Super League fixtures for the first time on May 26 and 27.

Some of the biggest battles in British sport will be played out at the home of Manchester City FC, where three matches take place on Saturday May 26 and four on Sunday May 27.

The 2012 Magic Weekend schedule in full is:

Saturday May 26
1.00pm – Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Wildcats
4.00pm – Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings
7.00pm – Hull FC v Hull KR

Sunday May 27
12.00pm – Catalan Dragons v London Broncos
2.00pm – Huddersfield Giants v Salford City Reds
4.00pm – Bradford Bulls v Leeds Rhinos
6.00pm – St Helens v Wigan Warriors

Gower returns to rugby league

It is something that we are seeing more and more of, and now, yet another player has returned to rugby league – with former Penrith Panthers half Craig Gower, leaving his French rugby union side, to play rugby league once more.

Gower will play with ESL side, the London Broncos, and despite having previously thought that a return to league was not on the cards – he is excited at the ESL opportunity.

“I didn’t really see myself playing rugby league again”, Gower said.

“I needed a new challenge and that was to play rugby union but it got to the stage where it wasn’t as enjoyable.

“But this did come as a bit of a surprise.

“I had talks about going to the NRL but I had a knee injury so it was hard to progress those further.

“However, the Super League option came up and that gave me more time to recover.”