Hull FC Chairman Adam Pearson has admitted that he is keeping a close eye on the spending levels of rival Super League club Salford Devils after they missed out on another high profile signing to Marwan Koukash’s ambitious outfit.
The Airlie Birds had long been linked with a move for former Hull KR man Michael Dobson, but after the half-back was announced as a signing for Salford in 2015, Pearson is beginning to question how long the Devils can sustain such spending levels under the salary cap.
Pearson admitted that he put in a huge offer for Dobson, the second time in recent years that the Airlie Birds have courted the Australian, but the 28-year-old will now link-up with another long-time Black and Whites target, Rangi Chase, at the AJ Bell Stadium.
“We put in a huge offer to Dobson and we would have really liked him to come here because he is exactly the kind of player, and the right kind of kicking game that we wanted, which is what we have missed,” Pearson said on hullfc.com.
“He’s gone to Salford and we will see where that takes him, we’ll see if he gets a pass off Rangi Chase next year. They have probably got £600k wrapped up in them half-backs and another £300k in two outside-backs so it is going to be interesting to see how they squeeze all that in to the cap.
“We are looking at it really closely. If you have got £900k wrapped up in six or seven players then that leaves you with £1m for 20… so how does that work? It’ll be interesting to see how that unfurls, we are a club that spends just above cap every year with our allowances and I know now that Wigan and Leeds are well below them so we have got some management of our cap to do and that’s where Motu [Tony] has got to do some work in the summer.
“But to keep accumulating £200k players in one squad just doesn’t add up, so at some point there needs to be some questions asked.”
The Airlie Birds are currently looking to recruit a new Financial Controller at the KC Stadium and some have been cheeky enough to suggest that perhaps Pearson could focus his attentions on swooping for Salford’s finance man, as he is clearly a man with considerable talents when it comes to balancing the books.
Meanwhile, Catalans’ Scott Dureau is the latest half-back to be linked with a move to Hull FC. The former Albert Goldthorpe Medal winner has endured a torrid time with injuries of late and has been replaced in the Catalans line-up by recent NRL recruit Sam Williams. But with Gareth Carvell’s move to Castleford, some have suggested that Lee Radford may be making some space on the salary cap to bring in some new blood.
Hull FC Chairman Adam Pearson has admitted that he should have sacked former coach Peter Gentle earlier. Speaking in a Q&A on the Club’s official website, Pearson added that current coach Lee Radford is here for the long term and is still sorting out problems left behind by his predecessor.
Hull FC are being strongly linked with a move for Wests Tigers’ Fijian wing-man Marika Koroibete.
The 21-year-old has scored 12 tries in 15 appearances in the NRL after bursting onto the scene in explosive fashion in 2012, including a record-breaking four-try salvo against Paramatta Eels. Injuries curtailed Koroibete’s development in 2013, but he still managed to star for the Fiji Bati in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup – including a performance at the KC Stadium against England.
He was tipped as one-to-watch for the NRL in 2014, but his campaign did not get off to the best of starts when he turned up to pre-season training late for the Tigers and he appeared to fall down the pecking order when David Nofoaluma was handed a three-year extension at Campbelltown.
Many had expected Koroibete to be given a mid-season release, with Canberra Raiders or Cronulla Sharks touted as his likely destination, but Wests lost Taqele Naiyaravoro to rugby union in early May and the Fijian is likely to be retained as cover for Pat Richards, Tim Simona and Nofoaluma.
With Koroibete out of contract at the end of the season there are sure to be plenty of offers on the table for the talented youngster, however the Airlie Birds look to have offered the winger a route out of the NRL. Lee Radford has been on the lookout for a new wingman since the Tom Biggs deal was cancelled, and with Fetuli Talanoa unlikely to be offered a deal beyond 2014 and Jason Crookes’ career with the Black and Whites all but over, Koroibete could be an option.
With Hull expressing a desire to go for quality over quantity for 2015, a player of Koroibete’s undoubted ability might just fit the bill.
Hull FC’s eternal search for consistency and stability in the scrum-half and stand-off roles at the KC Stadium has long been rather large bone of contention for the long suffering Old Faithful.
Not since the home-grown pairing of Richard Horne and Paul Cooke have we seen a partnership with the ability and promise worthy of the black-and-white shirt. Several high profile names have been and gone since Cooke tore up his imaginary contact and moved east, and with Adam Pearson recently hinting that the club may be looking to strengthen in that area, the hunt for another creative genius is on.
Current incumbents Jacob Miller and Jordan Rankin arrived on English shores with plenty of promise.
Miller, a former Australian schoolboy, was initially touted as an option when Hull began their fruitless chase of Scott Prince in the Autumn of 2012, he eventually turned up mid-way through 2013 as a replacement for Brett Seymour, and whilst he has shown occasional glimpses of brilliance, he is still searching for that level of consistency which would make him a first team regular.
Rankin, though listed as a full-back on Hull’s official website, has been earmarked as a stand-off and the former Aussie schoolboy captain has played most of his rugby in the black and white jersey in that position. A rangy and elusive runner, Rankin, like Miller, has yet to show the leadership and organisational skills, that are required from such a key role.
So who do we look to? The forums and twitter feeds are, as ever, alive with speculation as to who might be the answer for the Black and Whites, we at inanykindofweather.com take a look at some of the candidates.
Hull’s pursuit of Scott Prince in 2012 showed that they are not afraid to target some of the bigger names in the NRL, and if they pulled off the signing of Campese it would easily be regarded as one of their bigger signings in the Super League era. The Canberra skipper has been dogged by injuries in the past few years but has been fairly consistent in 2014 and would be a major coup for the Airlie Birds.
A former winner of the Harry Sunderland Trophy, Thomas certainly knows his way around Super League following an eight year spell in England with London Broncos and Wigan. Current struggles with injury have hindered his time on the pitch with the New Zealand Warriors, but at 28 there is still plenty more rugby in him. With his father’s legendary stint at the Boulevard in the 80’s Thomas was always going to be linked with Hull, but can FC prise him away from a lucrative contact in Auckland?
If Hull had had space on their salary cap in 2008 they may have already found the answer to their half-back problems. Unfortunately Hull’s loss was KR’s gain and Dobson went on to become a modern legend for Rovers making over 150 appearances in an impressive five year spell. Currently warming the bench at Newcastle Knights, it is no surprise to see a clutch of Super League clubs coveting his signature for 2014.
Currently covering for the injured Cooper Cronk at the Storm, Roberts was strongly linked with a move to Hull in the Autumn following some impressive displays for Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup. Out of contract with Melbourne at the end of the current campaign, the 28-year-old may fancy his chances of more regular rugby league with a Super League contract.
No stranger to Super League, following spells with Crusaders and London, the 30-year-old was another who was linked with a move to Hull last autumn. Has bags of experience in the NRL and is currently a back-up option for St George. Out of contract for 2015 but would he fancy another move back to England?
One of the real stars of the NRL, has won caps for Australia and seen State of Origin duty with New South Wales. At 32, he is coming towards the end of his career, but might just fancy one last payday in Super League. Out of contract at the end of 2014, the Wests Tigers man will have a big decision to make on where his future lies.
Yet to sign a contract with Wigan, the former Hull KR man has been touted for a move back to the NRL. But money talks and with Hull aiming for quality over quantity for 2015, could a shock move for last year’s Harry Sunderland Trophy winner be on the cards? [ED: Obviously not a target now, following the announcement he is off back to Oz!!!]
Tim Smith/Marc Sneyd
Salford’s flexible salary cap should expect them to secure further options in the half-back department which is likely to mean that there will be players surplus to requirements at the AJ Bell Stadium. Smith’s game has suffered playing alongside the unpredictable Rangi Chase, whilst Marc Sneyd has been an impressive figure in Castleford’s surprise package of 2014.
Leigh coach Paul Rowley recently issued a hands-off warning to prospective Super League suitors and Salford have long been linked with a move for a player who admits that he would one day like to play for his boyhood club. But if Salford avert their gaze to bigger fish, could one of the Championship’s hottest young prospects be a target for Hull?