LEEDS RHINOS’ Brett Ferres hopes Super League clubs will give “talented and loyal” youngsters greater opportunities as tensions with various “disrespectful” NRL imports heighten further.
Rugby league is facing mounting concerns after Steve Diamond, director of rugby at Premiership rugby union side Sale Sharks, confirmed Castleford Tigers star Denny Solomona had ‘resigned’ from the sport and was attracting interest from them and other clubs in the 15-man code.
Sale hope to complete a deal without paying a fee for the prolific former Melbourne Storm winger – who has two years left on his contract at Wheldon Road – in a controversial move which could end up in the High Court.
If their tactic is successful, it could set a dangerous precedent in sport but it comes at the same time as other recruits from Australia are turning their back on Super League, too.
Despite having a year left on his contract, scrum-half Chris Sandow quit Warrington Wolves last week, refusing to return to the UK after his break back home in Australia.
Leeds’ own James Segeyaro is reported as saying from Sydney he does not want to come back to see out his two year deal at Headingley either.
Furthermore, with Jamie Soward, the former Queensland State of Origin half-back who retired earlier this month after completing a second spell with London Broncos, claiming Super League is “10 years behind the NRL”, the domestic game has certainly taken something of a battering.
On yesterday’s Solomona development, England second-row Ferres, 30, said: “I’m not sure of the whole situation there but it certainly does look like opening a big can of worms.
“If this happens, potentially, if someone wants you in a different sport, they can just come and get you.
“There’s a right way and a wrong way of doing it and clubs and players need to be honest and open.
“It’s a tough one. It’s very difficult.
“You don’t see it happening in other sports.
“These deals always seem to get sorted out very quickly elsewhere so it is disappointing.
“With other stuff, though, it does seem we’re letting some NRL players come over here and disrespect our game, maybe using us as a springboard to get back over there.
“But we’ve got a very talented pool of players which is getting bigger and hopefully we’ll now see some of the young lads, who have got talent and are very loyal as well, getting an opportunity.”
Meanwhile, second-row Dale Ferguson – a former team-mate of Ferres’ at Wakefield Trinity and Huddersfield Giants – has left Bradford Bulls.
The Scotland international has re-joined Huddersfield after three years at Odsal.
Pontefract-born Ferguson, 28, said: “It was tough to leave but as soon as the opportunity arose to come back I jumped at the chance. Everyone wants to play Super League top level and I’ve spoken to Rick (Stone) and I like what he is about.”