Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
The Warriors are planning to make a bid for premiership-winning Melbourne halfback Jahrome Hughes as some of the biggest stars in the game become free agents from Sunday.
There has been relatively little movement in the player market in recent months as clubs and players wait for the NRL to confirm squad sizes and salary cap figures for next year. However, activity will increase now that November 1 has ticked over, which marks the moment that players who are not contracted beyond 2021 are able to negotiate with rival clubs.
Jahrome Hughes is a man in demand.Credit:Getty Images
Melbourne are still waiting for Cameron Smith to announce his intentions. Club officials believe he is leaning towards retirement after setting up the possibility of a fairytale farewell. The veteran skipper hasn't completely closed the door on playing elsewhere, but Storm powerbrokers believe he has played his last game in the purple jersey.
The club is expected to soon turn its attention onto Josh Addo-Carr, who wants to move to Sydney next season for family reasons. Wests Tigers have a four-year deal on the table, but he won't be released unless a suitable replacement is secured. Given the Tigers don't have a player they are willing to offer in return, Canterbury and South Sydney could be options for Addo-Carr, particularly given Reimus Smith is a player the Bulldogs want to trade.
Another contracted player, Corey Allan, could also shift over the summer. Allan did a commendable job filling in at fullback for the injured Latrell Mitchell at South Sydney in the final weeks of their season. However, the return of injured duo Mitchell and Braidon Burns, coupled with the signing of Tautau Moga from Newcastle, could limit his opportunities in Wayne Bennett's back line. A return to Brisbane could be possible given the Broncos will be without Darius Boyd in 2021.
One player who will be staying at Red Hill is Richie Kennar, who just finalised a one-year extension. Souths, meanwhile, are expected to this week confirm the Herald‘s revelation that James Roberts won’t be at the club next year.
At Newcastle, Pearce's future is at a delicate point given he is likely to be given an extension offer worth significantly less than his current deal.
Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.
‘Every time I woke up in the morning, my first thought was to go and save people’: Italy star Maxime Mbanda faces a monumental task against England but it is nothing to the life-and-death scenario he tackled during the coronavirus crisis
The 28-year-old is among the Azzurri replacements for the Six Nations clash
Fixture was originally scheduled for March but postponed due to the pandemic
After being sent home, the surgeon’s son decided he needed to help in Parma
Mbanda worked 13-hour days as an ambulance driver for the Yellow Cross
Whatever awaits Maxime Mbanda when Italy take on England, it won’t compare with the importance and difficulty and trauma of the work he volunteered for earlier this year – which earned him the gratitude of his nation.
The 28-year-old Zebre flanker is among the Azzurri replacements for the Six Nations decider against Eddie Jones’s Red Rose side at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. He and his team-mates are underdogs facing a monumental task in trying to compete with their title-chasing English opponents.
But it is sport. It is not a life-and-death scenario, the like of which Mbanda was plunged into when the first COVID wave hit Italy. When the fixture against England on March 14 was postponed due to the pandemic and sport was put on hold across the world, the surgeon’s son decided he needed to help. After a quick online enquiry, he was straight into action.
Italy flanker Maxime Mbanda worked as an ambulance driver during the pandemic
‘When we found out what was happening, when we couldn’t play the match against England, they sent us home and said there would be no games,’ he said. ‘On the news was just about coronavirus so I just did a Google search for three words, “coronavirus, Parma, help”. I found an article about the collaboration between the Parma commune (council) and the Yellow Cross.
‘So I called them and on the first day we provided the service of food and drugs to the old people, because they couldn’t leave home to save their lives. But on the second day, because there are a lot of older people working for the Yellow Cross, they called and asked me if I was ready to help with transporting patients to another hospital, because the Parma hospital was full at that time.
‘So I started doing that job. I was worried about it because I had a girlfriend at home and we found out that we were expecting a baby, so I was worried for her. But the other volunteers really helped me a lot with my worries, because they taught me that we were trying to save people’s lives.
After being sent home, the surgeon’s son decided he needed to help in Parma
‘We weren’t doing the same job as the doctors and nurses, but every time we took a person with COVID to another hospital, you have his life in your hands, so you have to act in the best way to save his life. This kind of way to think helped me so much. Every time I woke up in the morning, my first thought was to go to the Yellow Cross, to save people.’
Mbanda soon recognised the magnitude of what he was doing. Patients in a critical condition were relying on him and other volunteers, at their time of greatest need. The work was mentally tough, due to the direct interaction with people struggling to survive – and some who didn’t.
‘It was hard, because I wasn’t used to seeing all that suffering and seeing people dying,’ he said. ‘The people were alone, without their family. I wasn’t the driver, I was in the ambulance with them; so I was the substitute son or cousin or nephew.
‘It was very personal. When they were being taken from one hospital to another one, they thought that they were going to die, but it was the reverse; we were trying to help them stay alive. We had to help them understand why they were moving and I was there to try to calm them.
The 27-year-old witnessed incredible suffering among the patients he helped
‘I just tried to smile, make people laugh and think of nicer things. Some people I was with recognised me because they supported Zebre Rugby Club, but at that time I wasn’t a rugby player, I was just a guy trying to help them – like lots of people were trying to help.’
Mbanda’s selfless deeds were eventually rewarded by Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella. Last month, the proud player was honoured as a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – receiving a medal at the team hotel in Rome. He was touched, but also slightly uncomfortable to be singled out, as someone with the engrained attitude of a team sportsman.
‘It was a big honour for me and it was completely unexpected,’ he said. ‘But I started playing rugby because I love sharing feelings and wins, so it is the same with this – it was for everyone who tried to help. I want to share it with all the volunteers who have helped in Italy, in Europe and around the world. I am happy, but we can see on the news now that it is still an emergency and we mustn’t under-estimate it. It is really sad, what is happening. We wait just wait for a vaccine.’
That desperate wait goes on, but the wait for Test rugby’s return in Europe is finally over. Mbanda knows that any game against England is a daunting proposition, but given what he has already been through in 2020, he is understandably regarding it as a joyful prospect and an opportunity.
‘To be back on rugby pitches again is awesome because rugby is my life,’ he said. ‘We will try to do our best. We know England are one of the best teams in the world and we are lucky to be able to play in this situation. We have never beaten England so maybe this weekend it can be our first victory. We always go on the pitch to win, so we can’t wait to play. And we will have fun, for sure.’
Mbanda understands how devastating coronavirus can be having witnessed it first hand
Phil Foden set for England recall after impressive displays for Manchester City but Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood may have to wait to return to fold following Iceland shame
Pair were sent home in shame for bringing back two females to the team hotel
The incident happened just days after their first senior international call-ups
Foden has been in excellent form for Man City since the start of the season
He is set to be named in squad to face Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland
Greenwood is not such a straightforward selection based on performances
Phil Foden is set to be considered for an England call-up next week following his non-inclusion for disciplinary issues earlier this month.
Manchester City star Foden, along with Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood, were not considered for the games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark after being sent home in shame for bringing back two females to the team hotel following the win in Iceland just days after their first senior international call-ups in September.
But having axed the pair from his previous 30-man party; Southgate is ready to re-consider the young duo for the forthcoming matches against Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland.
Phil Foden has been in excellent form for Manchester City since the start of the season
Foden has been in excellent form for City since the start of the season and is known to have impressed England scouts, who have kept a close eye on his progress in recent weeks.
Indeed, it is understood Foden has a strong chance of being handed a recall following his disciplinary issues.
It remains to be seen, however, whether Greenwood will be handed an immediate return to the senior squad when Southgate names his squad on Thursday.
Mason Greenwood and Foden were caught bringing girls to back to England’s team hotel
The incident happened just days after their first senior international call-ups in September
Greenwood, who has faced disciplinary issues at Old Trafford in recent weeks, scored in Wednesday’s Champions League demolition of Red Bull Leipzig, but is yet to notch in the Premier League this season.
And while Southgate is ready to consider the 19-year-old, it remains to be seen whether the England boss believes he warrants a return based on performance.
Speaking after omitting the pair earlier this month, Southgate said: ‘We have to send a message to all our players in our teams at every age level that that sort of thing isn’t how we do things with England.’
Greenwood and Foden (pictured) sneaked two Icelandic girls into their team hotel
The players were sent home in shame for bringing back two females to the team hotel
Burnley ‘set for £200m takeover from new firm led by former Charlton lawyer Chris Farnell after talks with US-based consortium stalled’
Burnley are set to receive a £200million takeover bid from a new consortium
The club were in negotiations with a US-based consortium but talks have stalled
Ex-Charlton lawyer Chris Farnell has been cleared to launch his bid for the club
He had a ban on becoming an football director lifted after his involvement with Charlton’s chaotic takeover this summer
Burnley’s takeover by an American consortium looks to be on the rocks as a rival firm have been cleared to press ahead with a £200m bid for the club, reports claim.
The Premier League outfit looked certain to be purchased by ALK Capital, run by former Real Salt Lake chief Alan Pace, but talks with chairman Mike Garlick and director John Banaszkiewicz have hit a snag, according to the Athletic.
Now sports lawyer Chris Farnell and Egyptian businessman Mohamed Elkashashy are set to push their own bid through, the report adds, after the former successfully overturned a ban on becoming a director at an English football club having been involved in a turbulent takeover at Charlton earlier this year.
Burnley are reportedly bracing for a new £200m takeover bid after talks with a US firm stalled
The new firm, led by sports lawyer Chris Farnell (right), has been cleared to launch their bid after the 50-year-old has his ban on becoming an English football director overturned
Farnell claimed he failed the English Football League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (ODT) because of an administrative mix-up, and a tribunal this week agreed he had not tried to mislead the EFL – meaning he has been given the green light to wrap up the takeover.
He was appointed as a lawyer at Charlton this year to advise the club and majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer amid a boardroom battle, but was asked to end his involvement by owners ESI in August.
The 50-year-old claimed his only intention was to provide the club with legal assistance ‘for a short time’, adding: ‘I was never a director or owner of the football club, nor was I ever intending to be.
Clarets chairman Mike Garlick is looking to sell the club after being hit hard by coronavirus
There are tensions between Dyche (left) and Mike Garlick as Burnley struggled in the market
Farnell and Elkashashy have been in talks to buy Burnley over the last year, but ALK Capital’s negotiations were at a more advanced stage. Sportsmail reported that Garlick, who has a 49.24 per cent stake in the club, has met with the company’s chief Pace a number of times but has never been able to strike a deal.
Burnley endured a difficult summer after being hit by financial implications posed by the coronavirus pandemic and brought in just one signing of note – Brighton midfielder Dale Stephens for £1.5million, with manager Sean Dyche left frustrated at the club’s lack of flexibility in the market.
As a result, Garlick has been looking for new owners after admitting that Burnley could lose £50m if the outbreak continues to cripple the country. This year the Claret and Blue posted profits of just £4.3m.
‘Absolutely disgraceful’: Marseille players are blasted by fans for not taking the knee while Man City’s stars showed their support for anti-racism fight on the other side of the pitch before Champions League clash
Marseille stars did not take a knee before Champions League clash with Man City
French team instead stood round the centre circle and watched while City did
Players, coaches and other staff in England have taken the knee since June
The gesture came as a way to support the global Black Lives Matter movement
REPORT: Manchester City cruised to victory with a 3-0 win at Stade Velodrome
Marseille players did not take the knee before their Champions League encounter with Manchester City on Tuesday – but instead stood around the centre circle and watched while Raheem Sterling and his team-mates did.
Players, coaches and other staff have been taking the knee in England before games since June as a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and it now symbolises the global fight against racism.
However, the gesture has not been adopted in France, which led to the jarring scenes at the Stade Velodrome seconds before kick-off.
Marseille players did not take the knee moments before their game with Manchester City
PSG and Manchester United avoided such scenes last week because both sets of players decided against the pre-match ritual at the Parc des Princes by instead getting the game underway as normal.
However, while City remained intent on showing their support for the fight against racism, Andre Villas-Boas’s men were seen stood huddled together in a line while the Premier League side took the knee.
Reports in France are suggesting that the Ligue 1 players opted for a one minute’s silence instead to pay their respects to Samuel Paty – a French teacher who was murdered in a terrorist attack last week.
Despite this, fans online questioned why the Marseille players didn’t take the knee while some claimed the hosts should be ‘ashamed’ and one Twitter user called the scene ‘absolutely disgraceful’.
Instead the Ligue 1 players opted to stand round the centre circle and watch City take the knee
Raheem Sterling (front) and Kyle Walker are seen taking the knee moments before kick-off
City would go on to cruise to a 3-0 victory in France thanks to goals from Ferran Torres, Ilkay Gundogan and Sterling as Pep Guardiola’s men came out on top in the one-sided contest at the Stade Velodrome .
The win puts City top of Group C after just two games and now Guardiola’s side are already looking strong favourites to claim a place in the knockout stages.
City outclassed their hosts, whose cautious approach and deployment of a five-man defence failed to prevent the visitors taking charge from the outset.
Guardiola said after the game: ‘It is a good result for us, especially for the performance. We didn’t concede much and we created enough chances to win.
Some questioned why Marseille didn’t take a knee while others said they should be ‘ashamed’
‘Playing away in the Champions League is always tough. We have many examples last week and this week. They are doing really well, Marseille, in Ligue 1.
‘It was really good, especially the way we played, defensively and offensively, attention to all the details. When a team plays in that way, 3-5-2, so defensive, you can lose your patience and you become impatient to attack, and after that they punish you with the counter-attacks and so on.
‘We were calm in the right moments. Everybody was in his position and that helped a lot to win the game.’
City eased to a 3-0 victory over Marseille in the Champions League on Tuesday night
But he has also been open to action being taken to address the current state of the game which would lead to the ‘Saving the Beautiful Game’ group ending their calls for change, though he has stressed football can not be left to itself to bring about reform.
Neville explained: “If the Project Big Picture (proposal) is reshaped in the next few weeks and looking after fans, non-league, grassroots,FA, and EFL clubs to make them sustainable and maintain the Premier League as the ‘best league in the world’.
“If football can reform itself and prove it can do something it hasn’t done for 30 years, then the eight people in that group would happily fade away. They’re not there for any motive other than to try and address the balance and introduce a fairness to English football.”
This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League. Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri – Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.
Liverpool join Manchester United and Juventus in the chase of 17-year-old Icelandic wonderkid Isak Bergmann Johannesson – with IFK Norrkoping unsure they can keep him in January
Liverpool are the latest club to show an interest in Isak Bergmann Johannesson
The Icelandic wonderkid has been watched by Manchester United and Juventus
The midfielder already has three goals and eight assists for IFK Norrkoping
Liverpool are the latest club to send scouts to watch 17-year-old Icelandic wonderkid Isak Bergmann Johannesson after interest from Manchester United and Juventus.
The highly rated midfielder has already become a regular starter for Swedish side IFK Norrkoping and has contributed three goals and eight assists in the Allsvenskan this season.
According to Swedish outlet Expressen, the Reds sent scout Mads Jorgensen to watch Johannesson against AIK on Monday with Norrkoping resigned to the fact they may lose the talented youngster.
Liverpool have joined the race to sign Icelandic wonderkid Isak Bergmann Johannesson (left)
The club’s chief scout Stig Torbjornsen told Expressen: ‘It has been a great interest. It’s fun that we have many interesting players but it’s no secret that clubs are chasing Bergmann Johannesson.
‘Norrkoping has quite a lot of money and no need to sell and Isak has a sensible agent and family who know what they want and when he should go. It’s no stress for us, it’s rolling on. When something comes up that is good for all parties, something may happen.’
Torbjornsen also confirmed that Liverpool are one of the interested parties but said there are several clubs chasing his signature.
The highly rated midfielder has also been watched by Manchester United and Juventus
Johannesson’s father is Joey Gudjonsson who had spells at Burnley, Leicester and Aston Villa
‘Yes (Liverpool are one of the clubs) you can name all ten best clubs in Europe. Everyone has been here for him, they are all curious. Liverpool is a club, there are ten others as well. It is normal and fun for the association and Isak himself.
‘A club with a lot of money may appear tomorrow or in six months. It is good that Isak is calm and has a good counselor and family. Norrköping has no stress.’
Johannesson’s father is former footballer Joey Gudjonsson who had spells with Aston Villa, Wolves, Leicester, Burnley and Huddersfield. His grandfather is Gudjon Thordarson who managed Stoke City and Crewe Alexandra.
Johannesson has made two appearances for Iceland’s Under 21 side but was born in England in 2003, while his father was playing for Villa.
Gary Moore is targeting Botox Has at the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury next month following his victory at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The four-year-old overcame a 315-day absence to score for the third time in four starts since joining the Moore team from France.
“I was expecting a big run. He’s come back well and I’m very pleased with him,” said Moore on Sunday.
“He ate up last night and walked out sound this morning so we live to fight another day.
“I’d say his next race would be the Gerry Feilden at the Hennessy meeting at Newbury towards the end November.
“The aim last season had been to go to Liverpool after he had won at Cheltenham in December, but then we had the pandemic so that was that.”
Moore reports his other exciting young prospect Goshen to be heading for the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton November 7, as long as there is enough cut in the ground.
Goshen was successful on his first four starts over hurdles last term, before his winning streak came to an end in dramatic fashion in the Triumph at Cheltenham when he exited at the final flight with the race at his mercy.
He has been beaten in two races on the Flat this autumn, but Moore feels his latest run was better than he was given credit for in some quarters.
“He’s fine. He goes to the Elite if we get some rain. Wincanton seems to be dodging the rain at the moment,” said the West Sussex handler.
“He wasn’t beaten far by a horse (Natural History) that was runner-up in a Group Three on Saturday (St Simon Stakes at Newbury), so perhaps his run on the Flat the other day (at Goodwood) wasn’t quite as bad as everyone thought it was.”
Moore will send his two highly-promising four-year-olds their separate ways for the time being.
“I’ll keep them apart,” he said. “Whether Botox Has is up to Goshen’s level, I don’t know. I’d like to think he is, but he’ll have to jump up a fair bit.”