Newcastle Thunder director of rugby Denis Betts has said the club will not rush into naming a replacement for Simon Finnigan, who left last week to join Widnes Vikings as Tim Sheens’ replacement.
Instead, they will take their time to find the right candidate that fits into the philosophy that the club prides itself on.
“We still don’t know when the season is gong to start, or even when we can get back into training so there is no rush at the minute,” said Betts, who brought Finnigan to the club in May 2019.
“It’s not like we have to get everything in place by next week, or by the end of the month.
“I have never been one to jump into things. I like to find a way to make sure I make the right decision.
“We have a little bit of time to reflect and make sure we can find the right person we want to bring in and the right person for the job.
“With the way the game has gone over the last ten to twelve months, there will be plenty of people out there looking for work, but it’s my job to find someone who is going to keep moving us forward.
“Simon had his own voice but he aligned really well with the way I want us to take the organisation and where I want us to be as a club.
“The coach will have a big part in that so whoever comes in will only get the job if they can buy in to what we are trying to do up here.
“I am disappointed to lose Simon, because he’s a good coach and was doing a great job for us.
“But it wasn’t an easy decision for him. He has a real connection with them. They needed a coach and he feels he can help them.
“I didn’t want him to leave but he goes with our best wishes.”
ROCHDALE HORNETS have, as anticipated in last week’s League Express, completed the signing for former Tonga and New Zealand international Fuifui Moimoi.
The 41 year-old brings a wealth of experience to the Crown Oil Arena having made over 200 NRL appearances before moving to the British game, where he turned out for Leigh Centurions, Toronto Wolfpack and Workington Town.
Despite being in the latter stages of his career, Hornets chairman Andy Mazey knows Moimoi can still add a lot to their club both on and off the pitch.
“Fui has worked well with Sean Penkywicz at Leigh, Toronto and Workington and Matt (Calland, coach) was keen to bring him in and build on that relationship,” said Mazey.
“We’ve recruited well, especially in the pack and Matt felt Fui was someone that would give us a little bit extra.
“At his stage of life he’ll be an impact player for us and Matt was really keen to add that impact to our armoury.
“But he’s also good for other things as well with all the PR that comes with him. We can utilise his name and brand for many things and his name will raise more interest around the town.
“His name can almost add as much to us as he can on the field.”
DONCASTER have landed a huge coup ahead of the new season, with the signing of Samoan international Misi Taulapapa.
The 39-year-old has played in both the NRL for New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla Sharks, and in the British game with Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone Rovers, and Newcastle Thunder.
“Misi sets very high standards on and off the field,” said chief executive Carl Hall.
“His character in the dressing room will be a big asset to our club, with what he has done in the game.
“He was offered better contracts elsewhere, but we’ve been fortunate enough to give Misi a deal which gives him a job with one of our main sponsors New Image Contracts – and that will allow him to support his family more than any one-year contracts going forward.
“He has plans to stay in the UK long-term, and by bringing him to our club at this stage of his career there is the option of him joining the backroom staff in the future.”
Meanwhile, forward Brandan Wilkinson is the latest player from the 2020 squad to sign a new deal with the club.
LONDON SKOLARS coach Jermaine Coleman has said the club could consider entering the 1895 Cup for the first time in 2021.
The club have not entered the competition in the last two years due to difficulties of playing some mid-week matches.
But with the Cup competition potentially set for a group stage return in March, ahead of the league campaign, it could suits the capital club next year.
“It will all depend on the logistics again,” said Coleman.
“If it is a midweek thing again it just isn’t a feasible thing for part-time players in the south to do.
“But if the games are going to be on weekends, then it would probably be an ideal scenario for us to enter it and get a handful of games under our belts before we get into the league season.
“So it is something we’ll look at.”
BARROW RAIDERS have confirmed that Kumul international Wartovo Puara will not return to the club next season.
The 30-year-old returned to his native Papua New Guinea in March as the game and the country went into lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
However they have not ruled out a future return for the hooker.
“Given the pandemic, Watts returned to PNG in March and we opened discussions around his return during the summer,” explained a statement on the club’s Facebook page.
“Given the uncertainty of the situation Watts was unable to commit to 2021 but the door is very much ajar and we hope to secure his return for 2022 as well as seeing him in the UK representing PNG in Autumn’s World Cup.
“Watts has been a tremendous ambassador for his country and his infectious enthusiasm has made him an honorary Barrovian.
“His work in the schools and the community programme was instrumental in us winning our Love Barrow award and we would love to see him return when the time is right.”
WORKINGTON TOWN have wished the departing forward Fuifui Moimoi all the best following his move to Rochdale Hornets.
The 41 year-old joined Town ahead of the 2018 season and made 43 appearance for the club, scoring 13 tries.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have Fui as a senior member of the squad and he’ll be a big miss around the club,” read a Town statement on Twitter.
“Fui will always hold a very special place in the rich history of Workington Town.
“He leaves us as a lifelong friend and we wish him all the best for the future.”
WEST WALES RAIDERS have taken their 2021 squad up to 24 players with the re-signings of forward Alan Pope, Wales international Ryan Shallish and Commonwealth Games medalist Dan Maiden.
The trio are the latest players to commit to the club and head coach Aaron Wood is particularly delighted with one aspect of the squad so far.
“The good thing about our squad now is that there is competition in there,” said Wood.
“That always brings out the best in everyone.
“We want everyone to be fighting for a place in the 17 each week and that’s what we’ll get.
“Hopefully that will show on the field and we’ll pick up a few more wins.”
COVENTRY BEARS head coach Richard Squires has not ruled out dipping into the loan market ahead of the new season, should the need arise.
The Bears have utilised a dual registration partnership with Dewsbury Rams and London Broncos in previous years, but with that scrapped for 2021, they may have to look elsewhere for further numbers.
“We did have some plans to use dual registration but that has of course fallen through,” said Squires.
“I have about 27 players in the squad so we probably have enough for now, and it is big enough to see us through the season.
“The dual reg was an extra addition that we could have used. But there are still options there of getting players in on season-long loans if needs be.”
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS players and staff will be putting the lockdown to good use and raising money for charity partner Nightingale House hospice.
As with many charities, the hospice will lose a significant amount of income this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, that includes missing out of funds the club planned to raise through their Golf Day.
The charity and some of their supporters are planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro next year, but in the meantime Crusaders have organised a collective effort to travel the distance from Wrexham to the mountain – a total of 4,522 miles.
Each member of the squad will be given a minimum distance to travel during November and whether that is done by counting the number of steps they do each day or going for a run, it will all count towards the ultimate goal.
“It’s been a difficult year for everyone and Nightingale House are no exception to that,” said Crusaders chief executive Andy Moulsdale.
“With challenging times still ahead for Nightingale House, we wanted to do something to continue our support for them and it’d be great to see as many people as possible get involved.”
To donate to the cause visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/crusadersrlfc
HUNSLET chairman Kenny Sykes has revealed he is currently recovering after contracting Coronavirus.
“Only a few weeks ago I was in quite rude health,” Sykes wrote in the November issue of the club’s South of the River magazine.
“Then I developed what I initially thought was just a common cold. But a trip to the local test centre returned a positive result and I’ve had to self-isolate along with the rest of my immediate household.
“We’re all ok but I have to admit that I’ve been pretty unwell and still not 100 per cent, so I sympathise with anyone who’s copped for it.”
KEIGHLEY COUGARS have offered their ongoing support to anyone who might be struggling during the country’s second Coronavirus lockdown.
In a post on Twitter they wrote: “Try and keep strong and positive during #Lockdown2.
“We will be here on the other side of everything that has happened this year and look forward to being together at Cougar Park once more.
“If you need to talk, our DM’s will be open always.”
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