Category Archives: ESL/International RL

Galea to leave Robins at season’s end

Ben Galea

He has always been a respected player among his peers as well as with the fans, but former Penrith Panther and Wests Tigers player Ben Galea, his tenure at ESL side Hull KR is set to come to an end – with the club and player unable to come to an agreement for 2013.

Galea, 33, who joined the Robins in 2008, has played over 100 games in four and a half seasons for the club – and admitted that he was keen for one more year before hanging up the boots.

Although a deal between club and player was not reached, Mike Smith, Robins Chief Executive said:

“In the four years that I’ve been here, Ben has been a pleasure to deal with. He’s a consummate professional, both on and off the pitch, and has often provided the link between the players and the club, even before he was made captain at the start of this year.

“He’s also an exemplary role model to the younger players we have at Hull Kingston Rovers and has played a big part in helping to establish the club in Super League during the past five years. We’d liked to have kept Ben here for another season but unfortunately an agreement couldn’t be reached, hence the reason he will be moving on at the end of the year.

“I have no doubt that Ben will continue to play a big part for the team during the remainder of the season and he will leave Hull Kingston Rovers with our very best wishes for the future.”

Galea himself admits that whilst he is disappointed at having to depart, he will do so with some great memories at the Hull-based club.

“I am extremely disappointed that the club and I have not been able to reach an agreement for the 2013 season,” he said.

“I still feel a huge desire to play rugby league now and beyond the 2012 season, making me extremely reluctant to hang up the boots.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the past five seasons at Hull KR and will be sad to leave. I would like to thank my team mates, the club and the supporters for making my time at Hull KR the fantastic experience it has been. I will continue to wear the red and white jersey with pride and give my best until the final whistle blows.”

Dragons junior commits to Hull KR

Rhys Lovegrove

He may not have played any first-grade for the club, but St George Illawarra Dragons junior Rhys Lovegrove, has made the decision to remain in the ESL, signing a new deal that will see stay with the Robins until the end of the 2015 season.

Lovegrove, 25, was off-contract at the end of the current season, but Hull KR acted quickly to re-secure his services, with the 2015 season to be Lovegrove’s 9th season at the club.

Making his debut for the Robins in 2007, Lovegrove has quickly become a popular player at the club, and very recently made his 100th appearance for the club.

As he works his way back to full fitness, Lovegrove says that sorting out is future was important, and that staying at the Robins was the result he was after.

“I always wanted to stay here”, he said.

“There were one or two options, but nothing really serious, and the only talking I was doing was with Hull KR. It’s great to get it all sorted out, and the new contract takes me a long-way towards my goal of being a one-club player”.

“I’ve had a few chats with Sandy (Craig Sandercock) about the plans he has here and I want to be a part of that over the next few seasons. I started at square one when I first came over as it was our first year in the Super League and the club has really grown since then. I’m excited about the future and glad to be staying here.”

Craig Sandercock, who is the coach at Hull KR, said that the club is pleased to have retained the Australian forward, and believes that there is room for improvement in him yet.

“Rhys is only 25 and his best years are ahead of him which is why we’ve given him three years,” Sandercock said. “We think he can go on and really establish himself as a vital member of our team.

“He is a consummate professional who prepares well every week and can play in a number of different roles. He’s already done that for us this year and I’d expect him to rise to another level next season.”

Former Roosters utility keen to make amends with Castleford

Jordan Tansey

He was only at their club briefly, but Roosters fans may yet remember him – with former utility back Jordan Tansey, a player for the Roosters in 2009, signing a 1-year deal with ESL side, the Castleford Tigers.

Starting his career in 2006 with the Leeds Rhinos, he made 52 appearances to the club before moving down-under to play for the Roosters – only for homesickness to play a part in his eventual move back to the ESL.

With Tansey keen to reach his untapped potential at 25, Ian Millward, Castleford coach, is impressed with Tansey’s on-field ability and his utility value.

We’ve signed him next year on his outstanding utility value. He has an impressive C.V. with Leeds, being recruited for the NRL by Sydney Roosters and at Hull FC.

“He lost consistency in his life away from the game and went back to York to do the hard yards and get back on track. We’re very impressed by his enthusiasm and drive to fulfil his potential.

“We appreciate and respect the guidance he has had from the RFL with various life courses and support. They’ve given high recommendations that he’s ready to re-launch his career and we are providing Jordan an opportunity.

“At the age of 25 he has the talent to be a great utility asset to us.”

Bulls coaching staff made redundant

You could say that the club is going through tumultuous times at the minute, with the Bradford Bulls forced to layoff their entire coaching staff, as they look for ways to get out of administration.

Brendan Guilfoyle, who is one of the joint administrators, confirmed that a total of 16 staff members, including Australian coach Mick Potter, have had been let go.

“I was left with no alternative but to make these redundancies,” Guilfoyle told BBC Radio Leeds.

“I’m hoping to put some interim measure in place to ensure that the club can continue to fulfil their fixtures.”

Guilfoyle, who said that Bradford has merely 10 days to stay afloat in light of their going into administration – is looking at getting someone to come and coach the side, on an unpaid basis.

“I’m hoping to find someone to come in for the short-term who would be willing to work for nothing,” he continued.

“The attitude of all the staff was absolutely magnificent given the circumstances and I really hope I can find a backer and who knows they could come back.

“There is a huge good will for this club from everyone within rugby league so I just hope we can pull everything together and find someone who can purchase it.”

The Rugby Football League (RFL), said that it is rather unhappy at the recent developments that have taken place at Odsal.

“We are concerned by the news that the official administrator of Bradford Bulls has made all the club’s non-playing staff redundant.

“The governing body received no official notification of this action and is meeting the administrator Brendan Guilfoyle this afternoon to seek an explanation and clarification.

“The RFL is continuing to establish the facts behind this development and will not be making any further comment until we have spoken to all the parties involved.”

Despite their off-field troubles however, Bradford secured win against league leaders the Wigan Warriors – with Potter confident that the club will be saved.

“Until I’m told otherwise I will be preparing for the London game next Sunday as per our programme,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.

“I’m hopeful that there is someone out there to take the club on. They just need to come to the table.”

Bring back PNG Origin: Lam

Adrian Lam

It was a concept that was abandoned a while back, but former Papua New Guinea player now Kumuls coach, Adrian Lam, believes that a PNG Origin game should be reintroduced, in order to give country a bigger variety of players to choose from, for next years 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

With Lam wanting the best side possible to be picked based on their performances, Lam says that the match can be made up of two teams – one being a PNG based side known as the Residents with top elite players from the competition, the second to be overseas based players known as the Internationals, before a final team is picked to head to the World Cup.

“The Origin match is the best concept introduced back in 2009 and should be reintroduced this year to help prepare our Kumuls team for the World Cup next year,” the former Queensland’s Maroons halfback who turned his back on Australia to play for his country of birth, said Lam.

Lam is also of the belief that in time, PNG can defeat the likes of Australia, England and New Zealand, if the right attention is given to the game – including continued developmental programs, and more international exposure for the national side.

“The way the league is going is truly on its knees and at the moment no one is making the right decisions to move
forward and as a coach, we do not want to put ourselves in that position again like the previous years,” Lam said.

“As the saying goes, if you are always doing what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve done.”

Lam did have one warning, though – that any player not affiliated to the PNGRFL, will not be selected, regardless of their talent.

“Without Brad Tassell and his hard working team, I don’t think such a high standard of profile rugby league players and competition would enter the country,” he said.

“And they have also done well for rugby league in general with their strong junior development program in the country, and I applaud them for a job well done.”

Italian R-Evolution League Rd 2 Preview

r-Evolution League – Second Week Review –

The first round of the Northern Conference in the r-Evolution League (Federazione Italiana RFL) launched on Saturday June 9 at Al Padovani in Florence, between Magnifici Firenze and Nova Gorena Padova. Magnifici having the advantage of experience won 24 to 12, although felt tested by Gorena. The afternoon was not without its historic moments with the first junior rugby league team, aside the two from Rome being formed with Magnifici Firenze U16 taking on Lazio Rugby U16 (under Gladiators Roma) with three rugby league 9’s matches played.

The second round of r-Evolution League (a national based rugby league championship) began for the Southern Italian Conference teams at Stadio Goretti di Catania on Saturday with the Spartans Catania at home against the rookies from Frosinone, Ceccano Rugby League.

The Ceccano outfit are coming off an impressive debt 36 to 16 loss against two time champions, the strong Gladiators Roma lineup from round one, now came up against a Sicilian brick wall! The second Southern clash kicked off at 4.30pm with the Catania fans seeing their new jersey for the first time, after achieving third position in last year’s National Finals in Rome.

Under the training guidance of Italian-Australian (based in Sicilia for a number of years) Johnny Grasso (coach), Marco Suaria (captain) and Massimo Nicotra (President), the Spartans Catania team based at the stadium “Santa Maria Goretti” close to Mt Etna, imposed their game against the new club with Marcello Marchese directing the Spartans very well with the side producing a 24 to nil victory with five tries and two conversions for Fabio Borina. The next fixture will be one of the most anticipated in recent memory with Spartans Catania being highly rated in the pre-season and the Gladiators Roma still undefeated since foundation in 2010 – the result will determine who could be a very strong contender for the title.

Padova Rugby League prepare for 2012 r-Evolution League in Italy

In 2011, the Padova Jaguars debuted in the second r-Evolution League (Italian Rugby League Championship) under the FIRFL, but the name was made in haste and the group led by FIRFL Vice-President Matteo Visona has decided to rebrand the club with greater appeal and historical branding.

The new club brand will be officially labelled as “NOVA Gorena Padova RLFC” (NEW Padova Gorena) as Matteo Visona explains “The incipit that I chose has its roots from the 1960’s, at the time of the first wave of Italian Rugby League. In the Northeast there were twenty three teams only to the Padova region. One of these was the Gorena Padova, victorious twice at the end of the championship (before rugby league’s near 50 year hiatus) and had several good players within club. Our little secret is the son of one of them.”

Mr Visona suggests that the 60’s Gorena was named after their sponsor, a textile company now closed, but produced shirts for the sports person and the new brand in 2012 is a bridge between the past and present, with Gorena being the last successful club in the first Italian RL era when the game was known as Gioco di 13.

Gorena will hold their season launch on Saturday May 19 from 4pm at their partner club ‘House del Valsugana’. The club will have the presentation of their team, and discuss rugby a 13, history and dine. The club is proud to unveil that two original Gorena XIII players from the successful side of 1960 will be there, among other things to present one of three ‘padovani badges’ and discuss rugby league.

The off-field staff will be led by Tairo Trento and Chicco Prosdocimi who will begin training on May 14 twice a week for two weeks, than have 2 scheduled “Rugby League Nines” internal match until the season at Valsugana for an development initiative and put to practice what they have learnt. The club members are also helping to increase the players knowledge and awareness through the use of NRL and Super League DVDs and Highlights. Marzio Zanato (former Italia A RU and U21 coach will take a “behind the scenes” role).

Gorena Padova has released their first promotional video in the lead up to the third r-Evolution League that officially kicks off on June 2 – check it out at or like their Facebook page (Gorena RLFC).

More details for the Championship will be released soon by the FIRFL (Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League) with the new website in it’s final stages.

Luke Patten announces next career move

Luke Patten

Luke Patten, who is a fan favourite in both the NRL and ESL, after stints with the Illawarra Steelers, St George Illawarra Dragons and Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL, and Salford City Reds in the ESL – the man they call ‘The General’, has announced that he will become a player agent.

He will join Insight Sports as a player agent, upon the completion of the 2012 ESL season, with the veteran fullback pleased to continue his association with the game of rugby league.

“In the past few years, more and more colleagues were approaching me about advice with their career but also other elements of their lives” said Patten.

“Becoming a Player’s Agent is, I believe, a good way for me to give back to the game.”

“Chris (Fellas) and I have known each other for a long time and I was excited when he spoke to me about his intention to launch a company which combines Athlete Management and Financial Services. There is a genuine need for such a service in the market place and not only for Rugby League but for pretty much every elite athlete” continued Patten.

“As soon as I decided to hang up my boots, I contacted Chris as I feel their offering is something I was missing when I played. I am thrilled to remain involved with the game but at the same time this is a major step in my life, so I know I will need to work hard and learn a lot.

I am very excited about returning home and starting my new career with Insight in November. Until then, I want to finish on a high here in the UK, with Salford City Reds, where the Club and the fans have been fantastic for the last two years” added Patten.

The CEO of Insight Sports, as well as an NRL agent Chris Fellas, said that the company is thrilled to have him on board.

“We could not have had a better candidate than Luke for this position” said Insight’s CEO and NRL Agent Chris Fellas.

“Luke is a very respected player both in Australia and the UK, I believe that his decision to stay involved in the game will only add to his fame.

We think Luke as a retiring player, understands the pressure of making the right choices, both on or off the field.
We are ecstatic to have him join us as soon as he has completed his season with Salford City Reds” continued Fellas.

Watts leaves Widnes for personal reasons

Anthony Watts

Just a week ago, he was rewarded with a new contract – but now, for Widnes Vikings utility Anthony Watts, the club has given him a release from his contract, with Watts citing personal reasons, as the reason behind his decision.

Watts, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury earlier this season, was given a new 1-year deal by the club – but the club today announced that they would grant Watts wishes, and release him from his contract.

Watts said: “I would like to thank Widnes Vikings for the opportunity but I need to return home for personal reasons.

“As I suggested recently, I genuinely believe the club will be a huge force within the next few years and go on to achieve great things in the game.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be a part of that but I hope the fans continue to show the passion and commitment that I have witnessed in my short time there and help steer this great club back in the right direction.

“I wish all concerned at Widnes Vikings well for the future.”

Growth for Italia RFL: Coppa Italia Finals, Women and Juniors

The Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League are proud to announce the second (annual) Coppa Italia di Rugby a XIII Finals on Sunday May 6th staged at campo tor tre teste in Rome from 11 to 5pm onward with the Mens competition being the main event, but not without some all new sub-categories!

The second tier (“Reserve Grade or Feeder Clubs”) event was unveiled along with the Summer Championship – the r-Evolution League at the FIRFL’s first Season Launch (national conference) that was held at the prestigious “red rooms” at CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) in Rome on April 28. President David Massitti, Vice President Matteo Visona, Secretary-General Pierluigi Gentile and national members Marco Parrello (Rex Albinea) and Luigi Ferraro, Captain-Coach of the Magnifici Firenze rugby a XIII franchise and former Italia RU A captain and Aironi RU player precided over the event with various media attending, including national television coverage through Sport Italia 24 – broadcast on their News Program the next afternoon.

Teams from all over Italy participated in the knockout stage for the Senior Mens competition with overall growth and expansion shown moving from 8 to 12 teams. Sides from Reggio Emilia in the north, Rome and Perugia in Central Italy (Lazio and Umbria) and Sicilia in the south with Albinea, Canolo 13, USAG (Arlecchini Gladiators), Lupi Frascati (the Wolves), Centurioni Roma, Portaportese Roma, Estruschi Perugia, Grifoni Perugia, Briganti Librino XIII, Rectores Belpasso, CUS Catania 13 and Messina XIII participating.

The Coppa Italia (Final Four) and Grand Final this weekend sees Albinea (Reggio Emilia), USAG from Rome (Harlequins-Gladiators – the first Italian dual code Super club), Portaportese Roma RL and Rectores Belpasso from Catania vying to be Cup Champions.

In an historic day for Rugby League, the Italia RFL will expand into new sub-categories by fielding the first ever Womens and Junior Rugby League matches in Italy; we hope a sign of continued growth and excitement for the future. A Rugby League Nines mini-tournament will be held with three womens teams to battle it out with CUS Roma, Red e Blu (Roma) and IUSM (Roma) to meet. Rugby League will make the transition from Seniors to Juniors (Youth) with an U16 match played between Lazio against a Selection.

Meanwhile, the third r-Evolution League (Campionato) will begin on May 26th with the Grand Final proposed for July 27.

An announcement will be published in coming weeks about the format, new franchise and the current members.
The conference ended with discussion about the relationship between the two Italian rugby league federations with the Italia RFL looking for “for an open dialogue towards a democratic and constructive cooperation for the development of rugby League in Italy” and the following statement made by Secretary-General Pierluigi Gentile “Our doors are always open, well, time will tell.”