WEST WALES RAIDERS have made Rangi Chase their latest blockbuster signing after poaching the halfback from League 1 rivals Doncaster.
Chase, a former Man of Steel nine years ago, is set to partner ex Great Britain Lion Gavin Henson in the halves in Llanelli as the side aim to climb up the table in 2021.
“I have the opportunity to come down here and play for West Wales. I can’t wait to see you all down at Stebonheath Park,” Chase said after his signing.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be down in a few weeks to train hard and hopefully help us climb up the ladder and give this competition a shake up.”
Meanwhile, the Raiders also announced the signing of Uraia Naulusala who joins with a good record of scoring tries in the Army’s Rugby League side.
KEIGHLEY COUGARS stalwart Josh Lynam and prop Jack Arnold have signed new one-year deals to stay with the club into 2021.
Lynam is celebrating his testimonial year with the club after a decade in the first team with the Cougars.
Arnold will go into the new season having not played since late 2019 when he was handed a lengthy ban after the ill-tempered defeat to Hunslet.
Coach Rhys Lovegrove is happy to have the men on board.
“Since I became head coach, Lyny has worked really hard on his game.
“I’m really happy to keep Josh on board, he has shown plenty of promise and has been at the club for a long time now.
“But mainly, I was really happy with the way that he re-invigorated his attitude to training and also how he has developed his game both on and off the field to adapt to the new culture we’re creating here at Cougar Park.
“He plays a very direct and aggressive style and has also worked really on the other aspects of his game.
“Jack is a big middle who plays his footy in a very direct and aggressive style.
“He has lots of potential and we’re extremely hopeful as a coaching group that we can get Jack to channel that potential and develop into one of the best forwards in this competition.
“If we can achieve that, and get Jack to both control and harness his aggression, then he will focus on the correct aspects of the game and develop into a top forward.”
DONCASTER have moved to secure the future of forward Jordie Hedges who has signed a three-year deal starting in 2021.
Hedges has made 85 appearances for the Dons after signing with the club ahead of 2016.
“The deal represents a big commitment from the club and Jordie in investing in one another’s future, it is one that suits both parties,” CEO Carl Hall said.
“Jordie is one of the longest serving players at the club and it is great to have him with us for the next few years.
“He is still only 25 and has his best years as a Rugby League player in front of him, and it is pleasing that they will be spent at the Dons.
“His performances in the 2019 campaign prior to his injury demonstrated just how important he is to the squad, and he has worked hard to get himself back to 100% ready for next season starting.”
The club also last week announced the departure of Rangi Chase who was released to take up an opportunity with West Wales.
“We had a contingency plan for Rangi if he wanted to go down another route,” Hall continued.
“Unfortunately our budget along with most clubs has been effected by the pandemic.
“Rangi had a couple of opportunities elsewhere and has kept the club fully updated along the way.
“He got himself in good condition and it was unfortunate that we didn’t get to see him in full flow in a Dons shirt.
“The decision Rangi has made is one based on his personal circumstances and wanting to progress his career post Rugby League.”
ROCHDALE HORNETS chairman Andy Mazey has said plans are well underway for a return to training, once the RFL gives clubs and players the go-ahead to do so.
He also believes that it is important for the morale of the game, that the RFL offer some indication sooner rather than later as to when this might happen.
“Matt (Calland – coach) and his staff have started looking at planning and they have their ideal plans and scenarios in mind that they’d like to start moving forward with,” said Mazey, who was present at a virtual meeting of clubs last week as they were updated on the latest developments.
“But obviously, that will be determined by when we get the sign off from the RFL on a return to training and such like.
“We’re hopeful that in the next couple of weeks we can map this out and get a better understanding of when we can start playing and training again.
“We still have around a month to go anyway until we would ordinarily start so we still have a bit of time to work with. But we’re in a good place, the squad is nailed down and we’re ready to when we get the green light.
“The key for me is just giving everyone some hope and getting a road map and plan in place so that lads don’t lose any momentum or their passion for the game.
“At this time of year they should normally be looking forward to getting back into pre-season and ordinarily we’d be preparing for that.
“If we do need to push it back a bit, as long as we know that and can tell them that, it still gives them something to work towards.
“Our squad has been put together much earlier than it would usually have been, so we can now use that time to make everything at the club ready for a return.
“We can only control the controllable and we’re looking at getting the facility Covid-ready, we have the Covid officers in place and everything is ready to go. It’s now just about fine-tuning the plan, which the RFL will then hopefully sign off.
“We’re confident we will they will do because our facilities at Hopwood Hall are first class. The standards we need to reach for a return to training are achievable and we can reach them.”
BARROW RAIDERS have continued their recruitment drive for 2021 with five more players signing new deals with the club.
Mark Tyson, Adam Ford Jake Carter, Tom Hopkins and Carl McBain have all put pen to paper to stay at Barrow next season and Head Coach Paul Crarey is delighted with how his squad is taking shape for 2021.
The quintet add to the vast majority of the current squad who have already agreed new terms with the club also bringing in new signings Shaun Lunt, Adam Walne and Ben Harrison to add Super League experience
“We’ve lost a couple but not many,” said Crarey.
“It’s been fairly easy to put the squad together. We have a happy and healthy environment here – it’s not regimental so it’s not a hard sell.
“We have made it a great place to come and train and the players appreciate that. Steve Neale and the board have been brilliant with the players and have paid everyone 100 per cent of their wages so that speaks volumes about the club too.
“Lee Jewitt has left us to go Widnes. He’s enjoyed it with us, but Widnes is on his doorstep so that is fair enough.
“A couple of others have left because they wanted a guaranteed place in the team and we can’t offer them that.
“If you have to fight for your place you’re always going to play a bit better than if you’re given the shirt every week.
“That’s how we’ll always be while I’m here.”
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS have re-signed prop Warren Thompson for 2021.
The forward has made over 60 appearances for the club after joining ahead of the 2016 season after spells with St Helens and Rochdale.
“I’m made up to be staying as I couldn’t see me playing anywhere else,” Thompson said.
“We’ve got a really good group and everyone gets on well with each other. We haven’t got any big egos in the squad and that’s a really good thing.
“We’re definitely on the right path to make those play-offs, which was our aim in 2020, and I think we’ll do that once the COVID-19 situation has settled down and we’re able to play.
“Our squad is quite new and we brought in a lot of players from the amateur game, but we’ve bonded well.
“I’ve been used to being one of the younger lads, but now I’m a bit older and I hope I can help some of the new lads wherever I can.
“Everyone knows I’ll rock up and always give 100 per cent. I hope I can set a positive example.”
Meanwhile, the club have also moved to secure Adam Withy to their backroom staff ahead of 2021 in the role of Strength and Conditioning coach.
The coach joins the Crusaders from Wigan Warriors’ women’s side after previously working with Leigh Centurions.
OTTAWA ACES have signed prop forward Adam Lawton from League 1 rivals Newcastle Thunder ahead of 2021.
Lawton, who stands at six foot seven inches tall, is a product of the Widnes Vikings junior system and made his debut for the club in 2013.
After signing with Salford in Super League in 2019, he joined Newcastle for 2020.
“I am thrilled to be able to secure Adam Lawton’s services,” Aces Head Coach, Laurent Frayssinous said.
“It’s a massive coup for the club.”
“His ability to break the defence is second to none. I look forward to working hard with him at the start of pre-season.”
Elsewhere, the club have added extra experience to their coaching ranks with the appointment of former Dewsbury Rams assistant coach and Hemel Stags head coach, Jack Howieson.
The former prop, who made over 270 appearances in a 13-year career with Sheffield Eagles, will work alongside the club’s Head Coach.
“Jack has got great knowledge about the competition and the players,” Frayssinous continued.
“He is a competitor, has got a great work ethic and his experience will bring a lot to the players and the club.
“I am really happy he decided to come on board with us for next season.”
HUNSLET are continuing to add to their 2021 squad with Liam Copland, AJ Boardman and Alex Rowe the latest players to put pen to paper on a new one-year deal.
“Liam came in from amateur rugby and made the adaptation to semi-professional rugby quite comfortably,” said Thornton.
“His attitude towards training and playing is first class and he has a thirst to learn and develop himself further, which are great attributes to have.
“Hopefully, with a full pre-season under his belt, he will be pushing hard for a regular spot in the team.
“AJ’s development during his short time with us has been fantastic. His enthusiasm and energy is a real bonus, and he has a real desire to establish himself at League 1 level.
“He’s an absolute joy to coach because of his thirst for knowledge and desire to improve, and is another key signing for us.
“Alex came in last season and had an immediate impact on the squad. He’s a big personality and character and is well respected within the game.
“His presence and size on the field is obvious to see and he is a real handful for opposing defences. He will play a vital role in getting us on the front foot for our attacking game, and he will be a real cornerstone of our pack.”
LONDON SKOLARS coach Jermaine Coleman is confident he will have a group of fit players to work with once the club get the go ahead to return to training.
“We’re still not allowed to gather in a group of more than six people, but some of the guys have been getting together and working out and doing some training in small groups,” said Coleman.
“Like most sportsmen, they probably went through a phase where they continued to work out just as hard as if they were still in club training, before going through a phase where it died off again.
“But I think they have hit a phase now again where they are trying to pull finger out and starting to get some normality back in their lives as they prepare to get back for pre-season.
“I hope that the majority of my players have done that, but at end of the day they are all adults and they know what will be expected of them when they get back.
“It will be tough for them, having not played for a long time. They will find things very difficult and challenging, but I like to think they have got enough maturity in them to keep themselves in the right shape to drop back into it.
“Going back into training is going to be a real learning curve for everyone in terms of what intensity they can train at, and how quickly they can get back up to the intensity they were at before.
“We also have to make sure we don’t break people before we build them up.”
NEWCASTLE THUNDER coach Simon Finnigan has said it is business as usual as he starts to prepare for a return to pre-season training.
No firm decisions have yet been made as to when the Championship and League 1 seasons will kick-off in 2021, or when fans will be allowed to return to stadiums.
But with the global situation changing all the time, Finnigan believes he can’t do anything else but plan for a new season starting close to its usual time.
“It has been excellent having Super League back, it’s just a shame that the fans aren’t yet,” said Finnigan.
“But the situation can change quickly so hopefully by February or March time we might have turned a corner.
“We can only plan ahead as normal and prepare for a return to the season for February or March.
“There was talk of bringing the cup competition forward to be played over Christmas and New Year, so that may have to be put back now. But things can change very quickly.
“We are in a different position now than we were in April, when we were desperately trying to get everything back on to restart the season. Whereas now we have got a bit of breathing space.
“We’re not expecting matches to come before January, so we’ll just plan pre-season as normal and hopefully by the time the season should start we’ll have a grip of the situation again.”
WORKINGTON TOWN, along with neighbours Workington Reds, are urging fans to comment positively on the sports village project as part of the Workington Town Deal consultation published by Allerdale Borough council.
The two clubs are working closely together to provide modern and professional sporting facilities in Allerdale and the project is likely to form part of the council’s submission to government in order to secure £25m funding.
“Securing funding from the Town Deal submission would be a huge step closer to making the sports village project a reality, and provide the springboard for securing further funding from elsewhere,” a statement said.
“We have repeatedly highlighted the need for a first class environment for the future sportspersons of West Cumbria. These facilities are not just for Town and the Reds but for everyone that wants to embrace the huge benefits of sport in top quality surroundings. The clubs urge fans, families, and friends to comment positively on the plans and help to play a part in securing the best outcome for the youth of the area. They’re relying on us all to have a strong voice.”
“As the area’s two professional clubs, we’re really pleased to be working together to secure the best outcome possible for the people of West Cumbria.”
COVENTRY BEARS owner and founder Alan Robinson is continuing his new fitness regime after a health scare back in May.
Robinson spent almost two weeks in hospital earlier this year with a serious illness and has since been working to shed the pounds by primarily walking with a weighted vest and improving his diet.
“145kg and 2.5 stone down another big milestone for me today on my new fitness journey after serious illness back in May. God bless and stay strong people. It is possible,” he said on Twitter.
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