We are now just four weeks from the start of the 2019 Super League season and a return to the normality of the cut and thrust of weekly rugby after the winter drought. Clubs are making final moves to complete their squads and the players are back in full-time training and about to start an intense round of pre-season friendlies and trial games.

We’ve had a look back at the news over the last week to pick up on stories which you might have missed to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening inside the greatest game.

Wednesday 26th

Sam Tomkins will wear the number 29 shirt at the Catalans Dragons in 2019 after Tony Gigot was announced as retaining his number one jersey. Matty Smith will take the number seven shirt while fellow new signing Samisoni Langi will run out wearing the number six.

Thursday 27th  

Warrington Wolves coach Steve Price has hinted that there is still one piece of his jigsaw missing as he seeks to complete his playing squad for the forthcoming season. While he would not be drawn on the names in the frame he did suggest that he may be looking to add to the six new arrivals at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium.

Friday 28th  

Huddersfield Giant Oliver Russell has joined the Leigh Centurions on a season long loan. The kicking scrum-half made six appearances for the Giants in 2018 and will look to use the season to gain experience before returning to the Giants in 2020.

Saturday 29th    

Gareth Widdop’s looks like he might now move to Warrington for the 202 season after completing a final year at St George Illawarra Dragons. A number of clubs are thought to be interested in acquiring the England stand-off’s signature but the Wolves are believed to be the front-runners, with strong interest also being shown by the board at the Huddersfield Giants.

Sunday 30th

A strong Castleford Tigers side demolished Featherstone Rovers in a pre-season friendly by a score of 56-0. There were tries from Gill (3), Clare (2), Carr (3), Minikin, Sweeting, Turner along with five conversions (from 11 attempts) for Aston in front of a crowd of just over three thousand at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

Tuesday 1st

Cumbrian second-row James Donaldson is thought to be close to securing a contract with the Leeds Rhinos after joining their training squad on trial earlier in December. Donaldson played for the Rhinos in the Boxing Day win over Wakefield Trinity and the rumours circulating Headingley are that he has done enough to be offered a contract to join the playing staff.

Kyle Amor will play for St Helens again in 2019 after being tipped to leave the Totally Wicked Stadium for pastures new. The thirty-one year old played 27 times for Saints last season and this will be his sixth season at the club.

The twelve Super League grounds are having ‘shot clocks’ installed ahead of the 2019 season in an attempt to speed up the game. The clock will be in operation for scrums, drop outs and the taking of conversions and penalty kicks.

Wednesday 2nd   

Bradford Bulls confirmed that they have released Gregg McNally from the final year of his contract so that he can spend his time looking after his seriously ill wife Rosey who suffers from avascular necrosis. McNally has been released on compassionate grounds as he finds it impossible to combine training with the needs of his family, he is now free to find a club closer to home.

Former Castleford Tigers chief executive, Steve Gill, is the new general manager at Featherstone Rovers. Former general manager Davide Olongo becomes the clubs new chief executive.

Thursday 3rd

Off the field it is understood that Sam Burgess has split with his wife of three years Phoebe, just a month after the birth of the couple’s second child. Burgess had become embroiled in a ‘sexting’ scandal which wrecked his relationship, even though the player was cleared of any wrongdoing after a club investigation.

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