NRL warns there are still ‘plenty of hurdles’ to ensure uninterrupted season

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The end of a dispute between referees and the NRL was the final major hurdle to be cleared before next week’s resumption of the 2020 season.

But some bumps still lie ahead for the competition according to NRL head of football Graham Annesley.

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NZ approved to loan a forward

NRL: New Zealand Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is talking on Fox League Live about how much of a boost the NRL’s approval of loaning a player is to the squad.

The threat of legal action by referees was canned on Friday with the NRL getting the go-ahead to scrap the pocket official for 2020.

A decision on whether the game would revert to two referees or carry on with one in 2021 will be made at a later date.

That resolution was the last big obstacle to resuming the season after the COVID-19 crisis, clearing the path for round three to kick off on Thursday when Brisbane host Parramatta.

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Annesley however says there’s no room for anyone in the game to relax if the season is to continue without further interruption.

“We’ve still got lots of hurdles to overcome,” he told AAP.

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“We’ve still got to maintain our protocol procedure. We’ve still got to try and ensure our players stay fit and healthy and don’t get exposed to any danger from either the virus or sickness generally.

“There are still plenty of potential humps in the road ahead for us.

“Everyone wants to see us get through the whole season without interruption and they want to see crowds back and they want to see us get back to normal. That’s what we’re all focusing on.”

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Another issue to be finalised in coming days will be signing off on new broadcast deals.

The ARL Commission on Tuesday approved a deal to be sent to both Nine and Fox Sports, with approval still required from both their boards.

The proposed deal has Fox Sports remain as the game’s Pay TV broadcasters until at least the end of 2027 while Nine’s deal will at this stage run until the end of 2022, however it could still extend.

Both deals are expected to be finalised before the season resumption.

Originally published asNRL warns there are still ‘plenty of hurdles’ to ensure uninterrupted season

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Stumbling block that dashed Josh Reynolds’ fairytale Bulldogs return

Hopes of a fairytale return to Belmore have been squashed for Josh Reynolds with the former State of Origin half to remain with the Wests Tigers.

Negotiations over a switch to Canterbury have stalled after the clubs failed to reach an agreement on how his salary, believed to be around $750,000 a season, would be divided.

While the Bulldogs are in the market for players, their former cult hero would command too much of their salary cap for 2020, with the Tigers unwilling to pay top dollar for him to play at a rival club.

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On Friday Bulldogs coach Dean Pay said it was difficult to make agreements with clubs for players on huge wages while keeping the salary cap in balance.

“From our point of view it’s something that’s gone off the boil to a certain degree,” he said.

“When there’s large sums of money involved it’s hard to manage that side of the cap and that’s where it gets really difficult to manage.”

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Reynolds was let go by the Bulldogs at the end of 2017 after seven years and two grand finals with the club. Injury has restricted him to just 14 games for the Tigers, primarily in the halves or as a bench utility.

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However, the Bulldogs have plenty of money tied up in the halves with million- dollar star Kieran Foran shaping to return to the field in round three and Lachlan Lewis, Brandon Wakeham and Jack Cogger vying for a spot.

The Bulldogs are also dealing with several injuries from their first-grade side for the season, while Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor have had their contracts de-registered.

Josh Reynolds at Tigers training.Source:AAP

These holes need to be filled, but only when it is the right fit says Pay.

“It’s one of those things where we’re always looking for quality players but you’ve got to be able to fit in with what we’re doing salary-cap wise with different players so there’s a lot of different restrictions,” he said.

Originally published asStumbling block that dashed Reynolds’ fairytale Bulldogs return

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NRL great Greg Inglis comes out of retirement and joins English Super League

Thirteen months after retiring from the NRL, rugby league phenom Greg Inglis has confirmed he will join the English Super League in 2021.

On Tuesday evening, the Warrington Wolves revealed Inglis had come out of retirement and signed with the club on a one-year contract. He will join former NRL stars Israel Folau and Sonny Bill Williams in the English competition.

“I can’t wait to get over there and play for a club that has so much rich heritage. I’ve seen the success the team have had in the Challenge Cup and I want to help the team to deliver more glory,” the 33-year-old Inglis said in a statement.

“I’ve played over in England many times in representative footy and love how passionate and vocal the supporters are.

“To get the opportunity to live in the UK, to play for such a powerhouse club that I believe is on the rise is something I’m looking forward to and hopefully I can add value to the team.”

📞 Calling all Warrington fans

2021 just got a whole lot better 😀#GI2021 pic.twitter.com/tLRMw86BTl

Warrington Wolves CEO Karl Fitzpatrick said the signing was a “historical moment” for the club.

“This signing is a gift to every one of our fantastic members and partners who are currently experiencing difficult times,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We wanted to give everyone something to look forward to and to say thank you for their extraordinary loyalty. With this in mind we were extra motivated to get this deal completed.

“Greg is considered to be one of the greatest Rugby League players of the modern era. To see him pull on the primrose and blue will be a historical moment in Warrington Wolves and Super League’s timeline.”

Head Coach Steve Price believed Inglis would have a “positive impact” on the Warrington Wolves, who are yet to win a Super League title despite reaching the final on four occasions.

“Greg is a world-class athlete and has received the highest honours within our game,” Price said.

“Having had 12 months out of the sport he has had time to refresh both mentally and physically, and he is focused on having a positive influence on Warrington Wolves.

“I’m looking forward to working with him on a professional and personal level, and I’m excited to welcome him into our group.”

'Greg Inglis' now trending third in the UK, behind only EasyJet and Troy Deeney. Clear impact of star signings

It would be an interesting time to be a Warrington player, having just been asked to take a pay cut and then you load up Twitter and see you're going to be having a Costa and doing congas in Grappenhall with Greg Inglis next year!

Inglis announced his retirement from the NRL in April 2019 after a series of injury concerns. Although he had 18 months remaining on his contract with the Rabbitohs, Inglis was paid out in full by the club despite not being medically retired.

“I just think it’s time and I think it’s the right decision for myself. I’ve come to terms with it,” Inglis said last year.

“There has been a lot of speculation but as of today it’s official. There are no regrets.

“It’s not due to mental health or injuries, I just think it’s the right time for me. I’ve been contemplating it for a while.

“That’s me calling time on my career. No one else has called it.

“I’m happy with my decision. I get to work with the club and stay around Redfern and work with the boys and the community. My journey’s only just starting now.”

Greg Inglis joins the lap of honour for retiring players during the 2019 NRL Grand Final.Source:AAP

Inglis played 265 NRL games after his debut with the Melbourne Storm in 2005. He represented Queensland in 32 State of Origin matches and Australia in 39 Tests.

Inglis also won a premiership with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014 and was the Clive Churchill Medal recipient in 2007.

Cronulla Sharks great Paul Gallen also hinted he is considering making a return to the NRL, naming the New Zealand Warriors as a potential club.

“The Warriors have done such an amazing job to get over here to Australia, so many sacrifices to get the game going again, you’d like to think we could help them out as much as possible,” Gallen told 2GB on Tuesday.

“I tell you what, we’ve got until June 30 and I heard Billy Slater say he’d come back and play, Sam Thaiday today said he’d come back and play.

“I reckon between the three of us you’d get 10 or 15 games out, so why not, give me a call.

“The sacrifices they made, I would consider it.”

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