Grassroots Rugby League news round-up

The Rugby Football League have issued a clarion call for amateur clubs to further support the forthcoming World Cup as the trio of tournaments loom ever nearer. 

In its weekly community newsletter, the RFL advised: “We are planning to run an InspiredBy ‘Leagues Round’ which will be an opportunity for community clubs and leagues to get behind the England RL Teams at the forthcoming World Cups. The round will take place on (the weekend of) September 10/11.”

The round will, it is envisaged, involve grass roots outfits decorating their clubhouses with bunting, and promoting the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games on social media, as part of a national campaign.

“Hopefully, we can get some great coverage across leagues, clubs and central social media accounts,” the statement continued.

“The aim of InspiredBy is to be an all-encompassing campaign to attract new participants, and support transition into regular Rugby League activity, as well as encouraging community clubs to become ‘World Cup Ready’.

“Delivering these aims will build support for our three England teams and there will be multiple events and promotion to ensure we can all make the most of this World Cup.

“The ‘Leagues Round’ is the opportunity for the community clubs and leagues to play their part.

“We encourage all clubs to get on board; those that offer the best coverage we are looking to offer the chance to be involved in a coaching session led by stars of the England teams.”

Branding packs, including posters, wall charts and bunting, are available by emailing with club name, contact name, and delivery address by this Friday, September 2.

In addition, a RLWC2021 Cultural Festival is being launched, aimed at “bringing together audiences of sport and art to showcase the history and atmosphere of the tournament in October and November”.

The statement added: “The festival will be delivered via three different strands – The Power of Connecting, The Power of Poetry, and The Power of Performance: This Is Us and will amplify the strapline of ‘The Power of Together’, celebrating inclusivity and positive social impact.

“RLWC2021 are looking for groups and individuals to get involved in The Power of Performance: This is Us, a large-scale spectacular taking place in Newcastle, Leeds, Hull and Manchester at tournament time.

“We’re looking for teams, players, coaches, fans and anyone who wants to get involved to perform alongside a team of professional performers, helping to bring the energy, atmosphere and passion of the sport out onto the streets ahead of a RLWC2021 match.

“No former dance/performance experience is required, and choreography can be adapted for people of all abilities and experience, although participants must be aged 16 or over.”


WATERHEAD WARRIORS, and the wider amateur Rugby League community in Oldham, are in mourning for Kevin Hobson, who has died at the age of 75 after a long illness. 

Roger Halstead writes: “Although Kevin had recently returned to his home after a long hospital stay in Manchester, his passing in the Royal Oldham Hospital shocked the local Rugby League community and especially his many friends at the Waterhead club.

“Kevin devoted much of his life to Waterhead, where he had connections for about 40 years, including a long spell as chairman, which spanned more than a decade.”

Halstead, now media manager at Oldham RLFC, was the Rugby League writer for the Oldham Evening Chronicle throughout the years Kevin was Waterhead chairman.

He said: “In local media terms back then, Kevin was known as ‘Mr Waterhead’. He was devoted to the club and to Rugby League, but especially to everything that happened ‘on the park’ behind Watersheddings.

“During his chairmanship, lots of local lads received a grounding in the sport which not only enabled them to reach the upper echelons as players but which taught them core values for which Rugby League is renowned, such as teamwork, hard work, sportsmanship, loyalty, courage and comradeship.

“Kevin, whose personal handicap was never, ever seen as that, displayed all those qualities in abundance. I was privileged to know him, first in a professional capacity but in more recent times as a friend and fellow Rugby League fan.”

Phil Bradbury, secretary of the Oldham ARL, added: “Kevin used to be a steward at the Waterhead club before he took over as chairman at a time when the club was really struggling and needed a leader with the right qualities.

“Under his command, the club began to move forward and to establish the roots for the strong club it is today.

“A key element of Waterhead’s development was the refurbishing and reorganisation of the clubhouse and Kevin had a lot to do with that before he finished.”

A devoted and much-loved husband, dad, grandad, father-in-law and friend, Kevin is survived by Sue, his wife of 50 years, son Kevin, daughters Suzanne, Claire and Kate and ten grandchildren. He was never happier than when he was surrounded by them.

His funeral will be at St Thomas’ Church, Moorside on Friday, September 16 at 1pm; then at Oldham Crematorium at 2.30pm, followed by a wake at Waterhead RLFC.


The seven squads – including Ukraine, who are travelling despite the country’s invasion by Russia – have been named for next week’s European Under 19 Championship in Italy.

European Rugby League general manager David Butler recently devised a revised format following the withdrawal of Scotland, who cited coaching and availability issues.

The event, at Lignano Sabbiadoro, will open this Saturday (September 3), with all nations playing each other in 20-minute games, and will climax the following Saturday after semi-finals on the Tuesday.

Butler said: “It is fantastic to see Ukraine able to take up their spot, and excitement is building within the squads.

“We are looking forward to some very competitive games, and we are already seeing some excellent examples of collaboration between the nations, who all share the common goal of growing Rugby League across the continent.”

Defending champions France have in their ranks South Sydney backrower – the Rabbitohs’ Under 19 player of the year – Louis Grossemy. He travels with the blessing of Souths pathways manager Joe O’Callaghan, who said: “We are very supportive of the international game and when Louis came to us and said he had an opportunity to play for France, we gave him the thumbs up.

“We believe it is a great opportunity for him to play for France. He is only 19 and doesn’t know any of his teammates, so we think it will be great for his development to get that experience. We think very highly of Louis and when he comes back he will have a pre-season with the NRL squad.”

Wales have named Gethin Thomas (Freemantle Roosters), and Parramatta Eels’ Vlado Jankovic is in Serbia’s pool, while there are number of players across the squads linked to Super League Academy sides.


England: Bradlee Radford (East Hull), Andy Djeukessi (East Leeds), Logan Holgate (Hensingham), Harry Penny (Ince Rose Bridge), Josh Wagstaff (Langworthy Reds), Noah Lancelott, Matthew Parkes,  (Leigh Miners), Jack Newbegin, Rio McQuistan (Millom), Toby Hughes (Newton Storm), Dylan Turner (Oldham St Annes), Harvey Oldroyd (Siddal), Mekhi Bridgeman-Reaney (Stanningley & Leeds Rhinos), Mark Alban, Kieran Dean, Connor Goldthorpe, Ryan Wood (Thatto Heath), Callum Murphy, Scott Parnaby (Waterhead), Kieran Welburn (West Hull), Josh Leeson (Westgate Common).

France: Benjamin Sinimale (Albi), Nolan Lopez-Buttignol, Thibaut Marty (Carcassonne 13), Matthieu Garrigues, Thomas Monclus, Arthur Salles (FC Lezignan 13), Damien Huescar (Pia XIII), Elian Serre (RC Salon XIII), Kylian Benavent, Lenny Chachoua, Enzo Delbe, Romain Humbert, Julien Laporte, Salim Nahal, Rayan Tadjeur, Ben Abdesle Yacine (Saint-Esteve XIII Catalan), Louis Grossemy (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Maxence Barbet, Théo Fouque (Sporting Olympique Avignonnais), Sosthène, Ennoyotie, Mattéo Stéphani, Justin Tropis (Toulouse Olympique), Enzo Deltheil, Nesta Fleury (Villeneuve XIII).

Ireland: David Downey, Kevin Downey, Matthew Henry (Athy), Jack Crampton, Liam Hayes, Ryan Walsh, (Athboy) Sean Treacy (Athboy & Tribesmen), Jamie Gill, Xanda Rycroft (Bradford Bulls), Rory Lynch (Cork Bulls), Ned Conroy (Crosfields), Kyle Stacey (Dublin City Exiles & Portarlington), Odhran Brannigan (Dublin City Exiles), Sam Campbell (Huddersfield Giants), Louix Gorman (Hull KR), Conor Colman, James Downes (Longhorns), Nathan Connell (Shevington Sharks & Salford Red Devils), Scott Bradley, Tadhg Dowdall (Tullamore), Patrick Stapleton (unattached).

Italy: Gabriele Brullo, Giulio Corallo, Luigi La Rocca Erman, Emilio Stracquadanio (Catania), Fabio Dianti, Simone Moresco (Genova), Sebastiano Binutti, Raoul Coss, Tommaso Zuliani (Lignano), Alessandro Almasio, Filippo Bertossi, Marco Caffù, Stefano Cantore, Danilo Carrabetta, Mattia Ferroni, Nicolo Mazzotta, Davide Saita, Andrea Filippo Trivellin (Milano), Carlo Nicolai De Meyer, Christopher-Kyle De Meyer (Saluzzo).

Serbia: Luka Stosic (Arsenal–Montenegro), Andrej Susak (Dorcol Tigers), Stefan Milenkovic (Morava Cheetahs), Vlado Jankovic (Parramatta Eels), Aleksandar Marinkovic, Atanas Nesic, Darko Samardzic, Djordje Krnjeta, Enis Bibic, Marko Milicevic, Strahinja Stoiljkovic, Uros Ilic (Partisan 1953), Aleksa Zivojinovic, Jovan Loncar (Radnicki Belgrade), Lazar Stamenkovic, Luka Ilic, Ognjen Djordjevic, Veljko Djordjevic (Radnicki Nis), Dragan Kokanovic, Luka Trifunovic (Red Star), Aleksandar Stojanovic (Siddal), Vladimir Dinic (Tsar Dusan the Mighty).

Ukraine: Oleh Bobrykovych, Nazarii Daniv, Vitalii Kharun, Serhii Konopada, Oleksandr Levandovskyi, Vitalii Romanov, Vladyslav Shelenko, (Carpathian Trinity), Oleksandr Slizovskyi (Dnipro), Yevhen Checheta, Oleksandr Dyskyi, Maksym Harmash, Andrii Hermanovych, Ihor Yefanov, Davyd Zazimko (Hard Sign), Bohdan Stetsun (Khmelnytskyi Eagles), Oleksandr Fomiuk (Kryvyi Rih Rugby), Ivan Lipisii (Kyiv Rhinos), Danylo Kozak, Oleh Kaspruk, Bohdan Marmaziuk, (Lviv Tigers), Andrii Levchyk (Rivne Giants).

Wales: Michael Carter, Calum Jones, (Aber Valley Wolves), Bradley Toy (Aber Valley Wolves & Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy), William McCarthy, Isaac Morgan, (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Llewellyn Hawkes, Lewis Ingram (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Jamie Jenkins, Dafydd Rhobert Orr Morgan, Dylan Morgan (Cardiff Blue Dragons & Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy), Rhys Davies (Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy), Scott Pritchard, Billy Walkley, Finley Yates (Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy & Salford Red Devils), Jake Lacey (Cynon Valley Cavaliers & Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy & Salford Red Devils), Bradley Williams (Cynon Valley Cavaliers & Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy), Gethin Thomas (Fremantle Roosters), Oscar Fisher (Gateshead Storm & Newcastle Thunder), Robert Muirhead  (Mon Knights), Mason Phillips (Rhondda Outlaws & Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy), Charlie Glover (Salford Red Devils RL Academy), Ethan Harley (Telford Raiders), Alex Banks, Carter Barnes (Torfaen Tigers & Coleg Y Cymoedd RL Academy).


Welcome back!

That’s the message to Farnley Masters who, after a hiatus of several years, swung back into action with a game against Upton.

Reincarnated Farnley comprised a number of former players and several who were sampling over 35s Rugby League for the first time.

The team’s driving force, Vinnie Brown – who plays as well as organises – said: “It’s great to be back. Upton were a brilliant set of lads and played the game in the right spirit.

“Having a Masters team again was high on our priority list, especially with the launch of our new clubhouse facilities next season. And we’re hoping to launch a Women’s Masters team, which is in training and hoping to be playing games in the very near future.”

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