What Made Rugby League News in February 2021

It was a huge month of rugby league news in February 2021. Here’s a recap of what made the news.


  • Why the Pre-Season Knockout Comp Should Return
  • Five Ways To Enhance the NRL All Stars Concept
  • Should Cam Smith Retire or Play On?
  • Where Will Your NRL Team Finish in 2021?


  • Reports that ARL Chairman Peter V’landys is keen to return to three grades on NRL Game Day.
  • David Rose passes away at 89 (20/2/1931-31/1/2021). Rose played for Huddersfield and Leeds, making four appearances for Great Britain in 1954.


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  • Reports that St George-Illawarra Dragons are interested in signing Israel Folau.
  • Canberra Raiders confirm that Corey Harawira-Naera and Corey Horsburgh have been referred to the NRL Integrity Unit after DUI Charges over the Christmas period.
  • Cameron McInnes joins Cronulla Sharks on a four year contract starting in 2022 (2025)
  • NRL Indigenous Vs Māori sides announced.
  • Anthony Milford suffers a fractured hand at training and will require surgery. He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
  • King Vuniyayawa has received a visa clearance to join Leeds Rhinos.


  • Tevita Tatola re-signs with South Sydney Rabbitohs (2024).
  • George Burgess is released by Wigan Warriors on medical grounds, requiring hip surgery.
  • RFL confirm the following rule changes for the 2021 season: 20/40 kick; ball steal allowed one-on-one; scrums to pack within 30 seconds and team can decide where the scrum occurs (ie 10m from touch, 20m from touch or centre field); play-the-ball restart when ball or player with the ball goes into touch; handover for incorrect play-the-ball; and full penalty for breaking early from the scrum. Scrums will be removed for the 2020 season on medical advice.
  • Dave Donaghy is announced as Brisbane Broncos new CEO.


  • ARLC will make a decision mid-year whether to admit a second Brisbane side into the NRL.
  • Danny Levi joins Norths Devils (2021).
  • Brayden Musgrove re-signs with Newcastle Knights (2022).
  • Payne Haas receives two-year good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded after an incident in January.
  • Paul Green announced as Queensland Maroons new coach (2021).
  • Betfred announced as sponsors of the 2021 Challenge Cup competition. The draw for the first two rounds will take place on February 11.


  • Brent Naden is issued with a breach notice for failing to comply with biosecurity protocols, with a proposed $5,000 fine relating to an incident prior to the NRL Grand Final.
  • NRL cancel the accreditation of Player Agent Isaac Moses.
  • Josh Dugan sent to hospital for precautionary evaluation on a neck injury following a training incident.
  • Manly Sea Eagles release their 75 year anniversary jersey.
  • Melbourne Storm to play Newcastle Knights in a trial at Casey Fields on February 27 at 5:30pm.
  • In a Sydney court, Sam Burgess has been found guilty of intimidating his former father-in-law. Burgess has a conviction recorded and ordered to serve a two-years community corrections order.
  • Castleford Tigers announce their 2021 squad numbers.
  • Ukuma Ta’ai leaves Huddersfield Giants to join Newcastle Thunder (2021).
  • Ben Garcia is announced as Catalans Dragons captain for 2021.
  • Tyrone McCarthy joins Leigh Centurions (2021).


  • Penrith Panthers and Wests Tigers agree to play swap; Paul Momirovski joining the Panthers (2022) and Daine Laurie joining the Tigers (2023).
  • Ken McCaffery passes away at age 91 (26/9/1929 to 2021*). McCaffery played for Eastern Suburbs (1948-1950), Souths Toowoomba (1951-1954), Fortitude Valley (1955-1956) and North Sydney (1957-1959). He appeared 16 times for Queensland (1951-1955) and 12 times for Australia (1953-1957).
  • Salford Red Devils announce their 2021 squad numbers.


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  • Payne Haas is issued with a breach notice after pleading guilty to two counts of intimidating police, with a proposed maximum $50,000 fine and three match suspension. Brisbane Broncos officially accept the penalties.
  • Dean Whare leaves Penrith Panthers to join Catalans Dragons (2022).
  • Wigan Warriors Chairman Ian Lenagan denies reports that he will sell the ownership of the club.


  • Penrith Panthers appoint Isaah Yeo and Nathan Cleary as co-captains.
  • Weller Hauraki retires from rugby league.
  • Super League CEO Robert Elstone announces he will step down from the role.


  • The trial match between Canberra Raiders and Sydney Roosters moved from Leichhardt Oval, to Seiffert Oval on Saturday, February 27.
  • Round 4 Easter Monday clash between Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels moved from Bankwest Stadium, to ANZ Stadium.
  • Tom Gilbert suffers a fibula fracture and will miss between 6 and 8 weeks.
  • Leilani Latu is released by Warrington Wolves.


  • Jack Broadbent re-signs with Leeds Rhinos (2022).
  • Lachlan Fitzgibbon to miss the start of the NRL season following shoulder surgery.
  • Warrington Wolves announce their 2021 squad numbers.
  • Super League announce their first round fixtures; Challenge Cup first two rounds released.


  • Cameron McInnes suffers an ACL injury at training.
  • Isaah Yeo re-signs with Penrith Panthers (2024).
  • James Tamou appointed Wests Tigers captain.
  • Canterbury Bulldogs appoint Aaron Warburton as their new CEO.
  • Victoria’s five day COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in seven Melbourne Storm players being withdrawn from the NRL All Stars game next Friday: Josh Addo-Carr, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Reimis Smith, Brandon Smith, Jahrome Hughes and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
  • Melbourne Storm’s pre-season trial with New Zealand Warriors to be played at Sunshine Coast Stadium has been cancelled.
  • NRL Trial Match Result: Cronulla Sharks 36 St George-Illawarra Dragons 28.
  • Liam Sutcliffe re-signs with Leeds Rhinos (2024).


  • Cronulla Sharks confirm interest in Craig Bellamy joining the club as Coaching Director from 2022.


  • Bryce Cartwright suffers a broken jaw at training.
  • Replacements for All Stars squads announced.
  • Sam Hewitt joins Halifax Panthers from Huddersfield Giants on loan (2021).
  • Hull FC announce their 2021 squad numbers.
  • The 2021 Championship fixtures are released.


  • Andrew McCullough signs with St George-Illawarra Dragons (2023).
  • Melbourne Storm confirm there are no plans to move from AAMI Park as a result of the current COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria.
  • Arthur Romano ruptures his ACL playing for Catalans Dragons reserve side and will miss the 2021 Super League season.


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  • Herbie Farnworth to undergo surgery on his chest, expected to be available for Round 1 of the NRL Premiership.
  • Jake Averillo suffers a low grade MCL elbow injury, expected to be available for Round 1 of the NRL Premiership.
  • Jack Hughes appointed Warrington Wolves captain.
  • Tommy Makinson’s Testimonial match confirmed with St Helens to play Leigh Centurions on March 13.
  • Billy Thompson passes away at 87 (20/2/1931-31/1/2021). Thompson officiated the first State of Origin (1980); 17 test matches including the 1977 World Cup Final; and 3 Challenge Cup Finals.


  • Billy Smith suffers a shoulder injury at training that will require a reconstruction. He is expected to be out for four months.
  • Brendan Elliot joins Leigh Centurions from Manly Sea Eagles (2021).
  • Warrington Wolves head coach Steve Price to leave the club at the end of 2021.


  • Payne Haas suffers an ankle injury at training.
  • NRL Trial Match Result: Parramatta Eels 28 St George-Illawarra Dragons 6.
  • Sosaia Feki suffers an Achilles tendon injury at training.
  • John Spencer passes away at 74 (10/8/1946-18/2/2021). Balmain Tigers player (1966-1975) making 150 club appearances.


  • NRL Trial Match between Melbourne Storm and Newcastle Knights will now be played in Albury next weekend.
  • Melbourne Storm appoint Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane as co-captains.
  • Glen Willow Stadium in Mudgee to host the Charity Shield in 2022 and 2023.
  • Ben Hunt appointed St George-Illawarra Dragons captain.
  • Super League Round 2 matches announced, with the round dedicated to supporting Mose Masoe.
  • NRL Trial Match Results: Burleigh Bears 36 Gold Coast Titans 34, Wynnum-Manly Seagulls 22 Brisbane Broncos 22.


  • Corey Norman is issued with a breach notice for bringing the game into disrepute on January 22, with a proposed $20,000 fine and two match ban (one match suspended for 12 months).
  • NRL Trial Match Results: South Sydney Rabbitohs 58 Griffith Group 20 Invitational 0, Sydney Roosters 28 Wests Tigers 22, Newcastle Knights 20 Cessnock Goannas 4.
  • NRL All Stars: Mens – Indigenous 10 Māori 10 – Match Report
  • NRL All Stars: Womens – Māori 24 Indigenous 0 – Match Report.
  • Connor Aspey re-signs with Salford Red Devils (2021).


  • Dale Copley suffers a throat fracture during Brisbane Broncos trial with Wynnum-Manly Seagulls and is expected to be out for at least six weeks.
  • Kevin Dann passes away at 62 (5/4/1586-21/2/2021). Penrith Panthers player (1977-1984) making 121 appearances and 1 appearance for NSW (1980).
  • Phil Charlton passes away at 69 (17/11/1951-21/2/2021). Canterbury Bulldogs (1970-1978) and Newtown (1979) player.
  • Fouad Yaha re-signs with Catalans Dragons (2022).


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  • Latrell Mitchell re-signs with South Sydney Rabbitohs (2023).
  • Tom Trbojevic suffers a hamstring injury at training and will be unavailable until at least Round 4.
  • 2021 State of Origin venues confirmed: Wednesday June 9 – MCG; Sunday June 27 – Suncorp Stadium; Wednesday July 14 – ANZ Stadium.
  • Michael Oldfield suffers knee injury in Parramatta Eels’ trial against St George-Illawarra Dragons and is expected back either in Round 4 or Round 5.
  • Sam Burgess arrested after allegedly failing a roadside drug test.
  • The UK Government announce grassroots sport can resume from March 29, with limited crowds permitted for professional games from May 17.


  • Jeremy Marshall-King suffers a foot injury during the NRL All Stars match and will miss this weekend’s trial against Cronulla Sharks.
  • Shawn Blore completes surgery on a fractured wrist and is expected to be back between Round 6 and Round 8.
  • Matt King passes away at 33. Former London Broncos Academy player who was left paralysed following an accident when he was 17.
  • Super League Magic Round fixtures announced. Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle. Dates: 4-5 September. Saturday: Castleford Tigers Vs Salford Red Devils, St Helens Vs Catalans Dragons, Leeds Rhinos Vs Hull FC. Sunday: Huddersfield Giants Vs Wakefield Trinity, Wigan Warriors Vs Warrington Wolves, Leigh Centurions Vs Hull KR.


  • Stephen Crichton re-signs with Penrith Panthers (2023).
  • Lance Corporal Lloyd Wheeldon extends his trial period with Castleford Tigers.
  • Sydney Roosters made venue changes for the following matches: Round 12 Vs Canberra Raiders (Central Coast Stadium, from HBF Park, Perth); Round 5 Vs Cronulla Sharks (SCG, from Central Coast Stadium).


  • Super League announce their rivalry round (Round 20) fixtures for the weekend of 19-22 August: Warrington Wolves Vs Catalans Dragons, Wigan Warriors Vs St Helens, Leeds Rhinos Vs Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC Vs Hull KR, Leigh Centurions Vs Salford Red Devils, Castleford Tigers Vs Wakefield Trinity.
  • Sunia Turuva upgraded to development contract with the Penrith Panthers (2021).


  • Jarome Luai re-signs with Penrith Panthers (2024).
  • Cody Ramsey re-signs with St George-Illawarra Dragons (2024).
  • Adam O’Brien re-signs with Newcastle Knights as head coach (2024).
  • Alex Glenn announced as Brisbane Broncos captain.
  • Kevin Proctor and Jamal Fogarty announced co-captains of the Gold Coast Titans.
  • Full 2021 Super League Draw released.


  • Craig Fitzgibbon awarded Sydney Roosters Life Membership.
  • NRL Trial Match Results: Sydney Roosters 26 Canberra Raiders 20; Melbourne Storm 30 Newcastle Knights 10; Gold Coast Titans 12 New Zealand Warriors 12; Canterbury Bulldogs 16 Cronulla Sharks 12; South Sydney Rabbitohs 48 St George-Illawarra Dragons 16; Penrith Panthers 16 Parramatta Eels 6; North Queensland Cowboys 34 Brisbane Broncos 18.
  • Shaun Lunt announces his retirement from rugby league.
  • Penrith Panthers promote Izack Tago, J’maine Hopgood and Taylan May to their top 30.


  • Harry Grant suffers a knee injury in Melbourne Storm’s trial win over Newcastle Knights and is expected to be out for up to a month.
  • Jock Madden re-signs with Wests Tigers (2022).
  • NRL Trial Match Result: Wests Tigers 52 Manly Sea Eagles 18.

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