Betfred Championship Leigh Centurions

Saint Douglas moves to Championship club

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Luke Douglas of St Helens has joined Betfred Championship club Leigh Centurions on an initial one-month loan deal, days after the clubs confirmed a dual-registration agreement between the two for 2019.

While the 32-year-old front-rower made over thirty appearances last season for the Saints, missing only two of the club’s league and cup matches in the process, the return to fitness of England international Alex Walmsley and arrival of Joseph Paulo from the NRL has seen the Scotland man fall down the pecking order. The forward has huge experience, having made in excess of 300 appearances throughout his career across both the NRL and Super League.

The Centurions’ head coach John Duffy has worked previously with Douglas with the Scottish national team and the 38-year-old emphasised the positives of Douglas’ approach to the game. “I have known Luke for a number of years and he is the most professional player I have ever come into contact with during my time in rugby league,” he told the media following the signing’s confirmation. “He’s a smart fit into our side at a crucial stage of the season and will add so many qualities as well as a steadying influence. He’s got lots of great experience and is a cool head in any situation,” Duffy added.

Leigh kick off their campaign on Sunday 3rd February with a home match against Toulouse, the French team being one of the teams expected to be competing at the top end of the table throughout the season.

Hull KR Super League

KR confirm Johnson exit

Forward Josh Johnson has left Hull KR after the club confirmed his departure.

The former Huddersfield Giants man found first-team minutes hard to come by with the New Craven Park club and spent time last season with York City Knights and, latterly, Leigh Centurions. At 24-years-old, Johnson was keen to gain more match time and that is a view Hull KR supported with head coach Tim Sheens admitting that the club weren’t able to assure him of that. “Josh wanted to get more game time and, with the strength and numbers we have in the middle, game time is not something we could guarantee for him,” he told the media, adding both his and the club’s best wishes for the player’s future.

Thus far it is unclear what the future holds for Johnson with the Super League season less than a week away while the Betfred Championship campaign starts a week later. A move down to the second tier is likely although no clubs have publicly confirmed interest in the player as of yet.

Betfred Championship Bradford Bulls

Bulls sign Evans for 2019

After his departure from Leigh Centurions, Betfred Championship newcomers Bradford Bulls have secured the services of centre Rhys Evans until the end of the 2019 campaign.

The Warrington Wolves academy graduate made over a century of appearances for the Halliwell Jones Stadium club before joining Leigh ahead of last season, linking up with a team he represented on loan in 2011. However, despite signing a two-year deal with the Centurions ahead of 2018, the club’s financial difficulties saw Leigh having to clear all of their contracted players out. Evans and fellow recent departure Kevin Larroyer (Halifax) were the last two to move on after turning down Leigh’s settlement offers to terminate their contracts. After their departures from the Centurions were agreed, though, Evans became one of the better free agents still available – and John Kear’s Bulls moved to add the 26-year-old to their ranks.

Having already signed former Castleford and interational centre Jake Webster for next season, Evans will likely form part of one of the most experienced and threatening centre partnerships in the second tier in 2019. After confirming his arrival, Kear told the club’s official site that he believes the former Wales international will make a big impact at the club. “With his introduction, there’s going to be even further competition for places in an extremely impressive three-quarter line. He brings a lot of experience to the side and we know from his career history that he is going to be a menace in the Championship,” he explained.

Hull KR Super League

Drinkwater set for KR move

Drinkwater in action for Catalans. Image from

Former Catalans half-back Josh Drinkwater looks set to complete a move to Tim Sheens’ Hull KR in the coming days.

After leaving the French club following the end of his short contract – partially due to the arrival in Perpignan of Matty Smith from St Helens – the Australian pivot has been linked with many Super League clubs in the off-season and last week was rumoured to be joining Wigan prior to their announcement of Jarrod Sammut. However, Sheens’ Robins have moved to the front of the queue and the only thing holding up the confirmation is KR’s desire to move a player out of the club before welcoming the 26-year-old.

Drinkwater joined the Dragons in April after Luke Walsh’s injury-enforced retirement and his arrival sparked a turnaround in form, the former London man being key to their survival and Challenge Cup final success.