What Made Rugby League News in January 2021

We take a look at what made the NRL and Super League news during the month of January 2021.


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  • Huddersfield Giants investigating a minority of players who breached Tier 3 COVID protocols. The matter to be dealt with internally.


  • New Zealand Warriors fly out to Australia to mandatory quarantine ahead of the 2021 NRL Season.
  • Parramatta Eels clarify Junior Paulo’s availability following newspaper reports that he is scheduled to fight ex-NRL player Neville Costigan this month.
  • Tony Gigot released by Wakefield Trinity.


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  • Kane Bradley joins North Queensland Cowboys (2022).
  • Tukimihia Simpkins joins Wests Tigers (2023).
  • Reports that Gareth Widdop is returning to the UK after missing out on a contract in the NRL.
  • Leeds Rhinos announce their 2021 squad numbers.
  • Stevie Ward retires from rugby league.
  • United Kingdom COVID lockdown results in the RFL advising Championship and League 1 clubs to pause training, while Super League clubs will need to follow protocols at training. The draw for the first two rounds of the Challenge Cup are on hold.



  • Hull Kingston Rovers announce their 2021 squad numbers.
  • Leeds Rhinos Luke Gale suffers torn pec injury at training.
  • Romain Navarrete leaves Wigan Warriors to join London Broncos (2021).



  • Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill resigns.
  • Ryan Lannon (2023) and Josh Johnson (2023) re-sign with Salford Red Devils.
  • Wakefield Trinity promote Sam Eseh Junior (2024) and Patrick O’Donovan (2024) to their first team.
  • Lance Corporal Lloyd Wheeldon joins Castleford Tigers (1 month trial).


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  • David Nofoaluma re-signs with Wests Tigers (2025).
  • Isaiah Tass joins Brisbane Broncos (2021-development).
  • Melbourne Storm launch their 2021 home jersey.
  • Former Newcastle Knights half Jarrod Mullen joins Sunshine Coast Falcons (2021).
  • Super League season delayed by two-weeks and will commence on March 25. The RFL have delayed the start of the Rugby League Championship and League 1.
  • Huddersfield Giants announce their 2021 squad numbers.



  • King Vuniyayawa joins Leeds Rhinos (2021).


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  • Payne Haas arrested by NSW Police with offensive language and intimidating police.


  • Huddersfield Giants Ashton Golding suffers a shoulder injury at training and will miss the start of the Super League season.


  • NRL and Players Association agree to 6% reduction in 2021 ($9.02m) and 2022 ($9.11m) salary caps; $15,000 Origin payments for participating players.
  • South Sydney Rabbitohs Brock Gardner suffered a torn Achilles at training and is expected to miss 6-9 months.
  • Reports that ex-NRL referee boss Bernard Sutton has joined Melbourne Storm in a consultancy role.


  • Brisbane Broncos Alex Glenn granted a testimonial match when they play North Queensland Cowboys in a trial match at Redcliffe on February 27.
  • Catalans Dragons release a statement clarifying reports about Israel Folau’s future following speculation he’s switching to rugby union: “The club and Israel Folau have been in constant dialogue since Christmas regarding a personal family situation. This along with Covid restrictions are currently preventing his return to France.”
  • Junior Moors leaves Castleford Tigers to join Featherstone Rovers (2021).


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  • Canberra Raiders Tom Starling has six of seven charges dropped by police during a court appearance in Gosford for an incident that occurred on December 5, 2020. He is pleading not guilty to the remaining charge.
  • Ethan Bullemor re-signs with Brisbane Broncos (2022).
  • Leeds Rhinos close their training grounds for a minimum of five days following six players and one staff member testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Huddersfield Giants close their training grounds for a minimum of five days following a number of positive tests for COVID-19.
  • Malakai Watene-Zelezniak has announced his retirement from rugby league following a recent health scare.
  • David Bolton passes away at age 83 (27/4/1937 to 21/1/2021). Bolton appeared 300 times for Wigan (1954-64), before heading to Balmain for 78 appearances (1965-1970). Bolton represented Great Britain eight times. He also coached the Parramatta Eels (1973-1974).


  • The RFL have announced the start of the Rugby League Championship on the weekend of Easter (April 2-4) with a top six play-off series in September and October. Championship 1 will start on the weekend of May 8-9.
  • Declan Patton leaves Warrington Wolves to join Salford Red Devils (2021).
  • Zane Tetevano has received a visa clearance to join Leeds Rhinos.
  • Rémi Casty joins Toulouse Olympique (2021).


  • Newcastle Knights announce their leadership group: Mitch Barnett, Kalyn Ponga, Daniel Saifiti, Blake Green and Jayden Brailey.


  • Joe Philbin re-signs with Warrington Wolves (2024).
  • Eddie Battye leaves London Broncos to join Wakefield Trinity (2023).


  • St George-Illawarra Dragons player Corey Norman referred to the NRL Integrity Unit after an alleged incident on Friday January 22 in Cronulla. Former NRL player James Segeyaro was with Norman at the time. No police charges have been laid.
  • Olly Ashall-Bott joins Huddersfield Giants on a ten-month loan (November, 2021).
  • Albert Vete, Brad Takairangi have received visa clearances to join Hull Kingston Rovers.


  • Masada Iosefa passes away at age 32 (26/1/1988 to 25/1/2021) as a result of a quad bike accident in Herbert, Northern Territory. Iosefa represented Samoa in two tests, playing for Penrith Panthers (43 games) and Wests Tigers (14 games) between 2008-2013.
  • Leeds Rhinos training grounds to remain closed for another five days following four positive COVID-19 cases.
  • Ben Jones-Bishop leaves Wakefield Trinity to join York City Knights (2021).


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  • Newcastle Knights Mitchell Pearce has surgery on his right thumb following a training incident last week. Expected to return for the start of the NRL season.


  • Canberra Raiders announce they will enter the NSW Cup for the first time since 2007, ending their feeder club relationship with Mounties.
  • Reports that Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will leave the NRL to switch to rugby at the end of 2021.
  • Wigan Warriors Amir Borouh joins Halifax RLFC on loan (2021).


  • Benji Marshall signs with South Sydney Rabbitohs (2021).
  • Justin Rodski appointed as CEO of the Melbourne Storm.
  • North Queensland Cowboys announce trial match with feeder club Townsville Blackhawks to take place at Ayr’s Rugby Park on February 13.


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  • Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to leave New Zealand Warriors at the end of the season, switching to rugby union.
  • Leeds Rhinos training ground will reopen on February 1 after positive COVID cases.


  • Wests Tigers AJ Kepaoa and Zane Musgrove referred to the NRL Integrity Unit after being fined by NSW Police for Failing to Leave a Licensed Premise.

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