With the conclusion of the regular rugby league season in both the northern and southern hemispheres, it’s now time for the silly season to get underway. Indeed, players will now begin moving clubs, countries, and even continents over the autumn as rugby league undergoes its annual shake-up. So, what are some of the biggest stories so far?
It’s probably best to start in England’s capital and focus on the exodus that continues to take place at the beleaguered Championship side, the London Broncos. Unfortunately for the London club, Greg Richards was the latest player to leave after signing a one-year deal with Hull KR.
It’s undoubtedly a good move for the 26-year-old prop from Cumbria and it’s worth remembering he has already won a grand final with St Helens. Interestingly, both Hull KR and Richards have the option of extending the deal by another year if the 2022 season is a success so that will be an intriguing move to watch develop.
Before we move away from the capital one should certainly touch on the fact that the Broncos have announced they will go part-time during the 2022 season, so expect to see more outgoings from the club as players seek to find stable employment. When all is said and done, it’s no surprise that the decision to go part-time was followed by an immediate exit by one of the club’s best players.
Now, what’s been happening in Australia?
?”It’s such a big opportunity to get back into Super League and try to prove myself. I met with Tony (Smith) the other day and he sold it to me. His name speaks for itself.”
Greg Richards spoke to KRTV on signing for 2022!
? https://t.co/icds3p7wFM pic.twitter.com/lzLdYePODG
— Hull Kingston Rovers (@hullkrofficial) September 9, 2021
Things are heating up down under as the NRL prepares for its grand final on the 3rd of October. It will be a memorable occasion for many reasons but none more so than the fact that Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium will host the final. Indeed, it will be the first time that the NRL final isn’t held in Sydney for 114 years.
As for the eventual winners in the River City, if the NRL odds on bet365 are anything to go by, it appears that Melbourne Storm are set to defend the title that they won in 2020 having been priced at just 6/4 to triumph in Brisbane.
They will of course have to run the gauntlet of the finals that lead up to the big day but they’ve looked far and away the best side in the NRL this season.
A 114- year first, Suncorp will host the 2021 NRL grand final with a capacity crowd ?
Tune into #NRL360 on Ch 502 or stream on @kayosports pic.twitter.com/rCl0HzW4HE
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) September 8, 2021
Whilst the top eight teams in the NRL prepare for the finals, there have been movements elsewhere with news the North Queensland Cowboys will let five players leave the club at the end of the season as they begin to rebuild for the 2022 campaign. Worryingly for fans of the Cowboys, however, is that the incoming deals don’t match the outgoings with only two new players, Peta Hiku and Chad Townsend, signed up so far.
That could all change over the next few weeks as teams look to finalize their rosters for the 2022 season. It normally only takes one departure from a club to set off a domino effect around the league so prepare for anything as the clock ticks towards October.
Indeed, rugby league’s silly season is well underway as teams add exciting additions and also jettison those no longer needed.