Super League news: Leigh players told tear up deals or risk club folding, Brian Noble claims ‘fear’ from game Toronto will be promoted

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Super League news: Leigh players told tear up deals or risk club folding, Brian Noble claims ‘fear’ from game Toronto will be promoted

Tear up deal or risk club

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont is calling on the Centurions’ top-earning players to tear up their contracts for next season or risk the club going under.

The Championship club offloaded six of their best players to Super League clubs on the eve of the transfer deadline after failing to secure promotion and last week announced the departure of two more overseas players.

However, Beaumont says the club still need to slash their wage bill if they are to survive and he has put the onus on the players.

“I am disappointed that a small number of players asked to move on didn’t do so and take alternatives presented to them which would have ensured the short-term future of the club without increasing liabilities,” he said.

“What is vitally important is that we can get the remaining players who are contracted beyond this year to find alternative clubs and accept some responsibility for the failings on the field.

Leigh Director Derek Beaumont
Leigh Director Derek Beaumont

“The harsh reality is that if they attempt to stay, then the club won’t be able to survive and then they would have to go anyway so I am confident common sense will prevail and the club’s history and place in the community will be respected.”

Beaumont, who says he has ploughed a seven-figure sum into the club, has already announced his intention to leave at the end of the season.

He says in the worst-case scenario, Leigh would go into liquidation and reform as a community club.

Toronto win at a cost

Toronto coach Paul Rowley admits the loss of prolific tryscorer Liam Kay took the gloss off the Wolfpack’s 14-0 win over Halifax in their opening Super 8s fixture.

The Ireland international, who has scored 48 league tries since joining the Wolfpack from Leigh two years ago, was taken off after 23 minutes with an ankle injury and, although he has yet to determine the extent, Rowley does not expect him to play again this year.

Liam Kay of Toronto runs in for a try.
Liam Kay of Toronto runs in for a try.

Toronto had earlier lost their other regular winger, Matty Russell, with concussion, which forced Rowley to play second row forwards Andrew Dixon and Cory Paterson in the threequarter line for most of the game.

“It was a blow losing two wingers and they are not any two wingers, they are probably our most consistent performers,” Rowley said. “It really affected our ruck speed and our cutting edge as well.

“I’m really disappointed for Liam, it looks like it could be season over, but Matty will come back strong.”

Noble says clubs fear Toronto success

Toronto director of rugby Brian Noble has accused the rest of the game of erecting road blocks in the Canadians’ path to Super League.

And Noble has revealed it is costing the club almost £300,000 extra to take part in the Qualifiers.

The Wolfpack finished top of the Championship in their second season as a club, 12 months after winning promotion from League 1, to earn a place in the seven-match series that will determine the make-up of Super League for 2019.

Noble’s men begin their Qualifiers campaign at Halifax on Sunday amid rumblings of discontent from Super League, with even new league chief executive Robert Elstone revealing he has reservations over the fledgling club’s long-term sustainability.

Writing in his column in the latest Forty 20 magazine which is published on Monday, former Bradford and Great Britain coach Noble launched a passionate defence of the Wolfpack.

“Participating in the Qualifiers has cost Toronto not far short of an extra £300,000,” said Noble, who claims the fixture list forced on the club will mean up to seven flights to Toronto and that changes to kick-off times for television could cost the club fans and revenue.

Toronto's Brian Noble
Toronto’s Brian Noble

Noble says the Wolfpack, who played their Championship fixtures in blocks of home and away games, accepted that a similar arrangement for the play-offs would be seen as an advantage.

But he says an alternative proposal that would have meant a maximum of five trips to Toronto, including a potential Million-Pound Game, was rejected by the Rugby Football League.

“Fear that we may just come up is even overruling potential duty of care for our players,” Noble said. “No other sport would do that.”

Noble insisted the Canadian club are determined to overcome the “hurdles” thrown in front of them.

“The powers that be can’t head us off,” he said. “If we do the business on the field, they can’t stop us.”

Hall faces scans

Leeds Rhinos Ryan Hall (right) is tackled by St Helens' Adam Quinlan.
Leeds Rhinos Ryan Hall (right) is tackled by St Helens’ Adam Quinlan.

Ryan Hall will undergo a scan after sustaining a knee injury during Leeds’ 48-22 win over Toulouse in their Super 8s Qualifiers opener at Headingley.

The England winger, who has agreed a move to Sydney Roosters at the end of the season, was forced off early in the second half after appearing to twist his knee.

Hall, 30, scored one of the Rhinos’ nine tries and director of rugby Kevin Sinfield is now waiting to discover the severity of the problem.

The legendary former Leeds captain said: “It’s probably too early to say because he is walking around in there and he does tend to recover very quickly from what could be deemed to be really serious injuries.

“He’s smiling, but we will get him scanned on Monday morning. At this stage, I would say he’s a doubt for next week’s trip to London Broncos.”

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