The London Broncos’ new short-term signing, Jamie Soward, could jump straight off the plane from Australia and into the side to play Salford this afternoon.
The St George Illawarra Dragons stand-off has joined the Broncos for the rest of the season prior to a four-year deal with Penrith Panthers. Soward is seen by Broncos as the natural successor to Craig Gower, who has returned to Australia with Newcastle Knights. He is almost as experienced and one of the game’s most accomplished goal-kickers.
At the other end of the experience scale, the 19-year-old centre Harry Little is set to keep his place after an encouraging debut in the defeat at Wakefield last weekend.
Another import is added to the mix, however, with the arrival on loan of the centre Ryan Shaw, a Warrington junior who has played for Swinton this season.
Salford’s recruitment activity this week has been focused on next season. After numerous false starts, the owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, has started to get some names on contracts. First to be confirmed was the New Zealand second-rower or centre, Junior Sa’u, who is coming next season on a two-year deal.
But the really eye-catching signing has been that of the Warrington and England prop, Adrian Morley. At 36, he has agreed to spend what he expects to be the final year of his career with his hometown club.
Morley knows he could be joining the holders of Super League’s wooden spoon, although today’s Salford match will have a big bearing on that. Morley is in the Wolves’ squad for tomorrow’s match at Bradford, along with Garreth Carvell, who is joining the Bulls next season. Bradford, who need to win to keep alive their slim hopes of a play-off place, could have Jamie Foster, Chev Walker and Jamie Langley back in action, but Jarrod Sammut is still not fit.
Leeds, who go to Widnes with what is still a well below-strength squad, are losing their assistant coach, James Lowes, who is switching to their rugby union sister club, Leeds Carnegie, as head coach.
The Rhinos have made their first signing for next season, with the recruitment of Hunslet’s former St Helens prop, Andy Yates.