Wakefield Trinity boss Mark Applegarth addresses Lewis Murphy speculation and explains how Super League can stop the NRL drain

WAKEFIELD TRINITY fans were shocked last week when their star winger, Lewis Murphy, had reportedly agreed to an NRL move to the Sydney Roosters from 2024 onwards.

It had been reported Down Under that the flyer had signed a two-year deal with the Roosters, despite just 12 months ago being barely known in Super League.

Murphy’s head coach, Mark Applegarth, is close with the winger and though not denying the speculation, insisted that Super League will be seeing the 20-year-old in 2023.

“Obviously we have had a few chats behind the scenes and one thing we never have doubts about is that I’m really close to him,” Applegarth told League Express.

“We’ve got 100% attention from him this year so I’m looking forward to him backing up what he did last year, working on his game and that’s all I’ve got to say on it and the rest of it is speculation at the moment.”

When asked about how Super League can stop the drain of young talent such as Will Pryce, Dom Young and Kai Pearce-Paul to the NRL, Applegarth was reflective.

“It’s a very good question and I don’t think we can do anything in the short-term,” Applegarth continued.

“The NRL is viewed as the most competitive league in the world. It’s the more lucrative they have got three times of our cap, and until we sort that side of the game in England, I can’t see any quick fix because we are always going to haemorrhage that talent to the best league in the world. Quite rightly, too because it is the most competitive league.

“Players aren’t just going over there for the money- the money is an extra happy.

“The minimum wage in the top 30 is about £80,000 and I’ve seen quite a few professionals coming out saying that there are a lot of players that are lucky to be on £20 or £30 grand in Super League and they aren’t lying. That’s the current state of the game.

“All we’ve got to focus is on developing the next generation that are coming through and as we get a more lucrative product and the money starts going up that’s how you will stop the drain – it’s as simple as that.

“Make it more commercial, keep hold of your talent, the more you pay them then the more competitive the league gets and the more it will make them want to stay over here.”