Rugby League news: Jon Wells on why rivals had to recruit, John Bateman talks desired NRL position – Hull Daily Mail


Castleford Director of Rugby Jon Wells says that his side did not need to recruit ahead of the 2019 season unlike their rivals.

The Tigers have not added to their squad following a 2018 campaign which saw the club fall short of the Super League Grand Final after a third-place finish.

Wells insists Castleford are happy with their situation and believes teams such as Leeds Rhinos had to add talent to catch up following their drop into the Qualifiers last term. The Rhinos have acquired marquee players Trent Merrin and Konrad Hurrell this off-season amongst others.

“Other clubs have needed to sign players,” Wells told Love Rugby League. “Leeds have really needed to, in particular. They needed to rebuild the club from the ground upwards.

“I’m really intrigued by Leeds. God only knows the conversations that Kevin Sinfield (Director of Rugby] and Gary Hetherington (chief executive) have been having. From what I can gather from the outside looking in, that (high profile signings) is probably very at odds with Gary’s philosophy.



Castleford Tigers Director of Rugby Jon Wells.
Castleford Tigers Director of Rugby Jon Wells.

“At Warrington, I don’t think that Tyrone Roberts was the signing that they thought he would be. Warrington made two major finals in 2018 and walked away with nothing, so they needed to make changes.

“We’re a club that are coming from a lower base and are steadily building. I think we’ve got a very good squad here.”

 

Bateman on his desired position in the NRL

Former Wigan Warriors star John Bateman has identified the back row as his desired position with new club Canberra Raiders.

The 25-year-old has switched from Wigan to Canberra for the 2019 campaign and beyond after signing a two-year deal with another season option for 2021.

But questions have surrounded exactly where he will line-up for the Raiders after the former Bradford Bulls player had featured for England in the centres earlier in his career.

 

Bateman, however, wants to land a role in either the second row or at loose forward.

“I played a bit of centre under (England coach) Wayne Bennett, I played a bit at Wigan a couple of years ago now,” Bateman told the Australian media.

“But I’d probably say my preferred position is in the pack, in the back row, loose forward. I enjoy being in the middle and in the mix of it so that’s probably what I want to go ahead with this year.”

 

Saints sign young gun to new deal

St Helens have handed prop forward Matty Lees a new and improved three-year contract that will keep him at the club until the end of 2021.

The 20-year-old came of age in 2018, making 19 appearances for the Saints and touring Papua New Guinea with the England Knights.

“Matty is a great young player who showed that he is more than capable of performing at the highest level in Super League last season,” Saints coach Justin Holbrook said.



St Helens' Matty Lees.
St Helens’ Matty Lees.

“He is an exciting talent who is professional and keen to improve and develop. I’m really excited about seeing him do that this season and beyond.”

Lees added: “I’m really happy to have signed a new deal with such a great club. I still feel I have a lot of learning to do but I do know that St Helens is the best environment to do that in. We have a great coaching team and players here and they will help me develop further.”


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