Weekly news wrap: 17 January 2020

NINES 2020 MAIN 1000px
Embed from Getty Images

A quick look at what's made news this week in the rugby league world.

Te Maire retires

On Sunday, the North Queensland Cowboys confirmed the retirement from rugby league of playmaker Te Maire Martin. The fullback and halves player showed plenty of promise but missed most of the 2019 season following a brain bleed which was diagnosed in April.

Martin played 62 NRL games across his time at both the Cowboys and Panthers, and represented New Zealand on four occasions.

Latrell finally signs with Souths

After months of media speculation, the Sydney Roosters finally issued a deed of release on Latrell Mitchell's contract with the back-to-back premiers, clearing a path for the South Sydney Rabbitohs to confirm his signing on Monday afternoon.

UK pre-season heats up

Most clubs across the RFL's top three tiers have now kicked off their 2020 pre-season, with the latest group of trials on the weekend seeing plenty of key moments.

The high: Rob Burrow - recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, taking the field at Headingley late in Leeds' 34-10 win over Bradford. The match also acted as a Testimonial event for club legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

The low: Hull KR's Mose Masoe suffered a horror spinal injury in Hull KR's 18-6 loss to Wakefield at the Belle Vue on Sunday. The 30-year-old has represented Samoa at the international level and spent long stints at both the Panthers and Roosters in the NRL before moving to the UK. He remains in Leeds General Hospital and reports suggest he is facing a long and slow recovery.

Check out the full results here as well as fixtures for upcoming matches.

NRL trial on the move

With the support of the Panthers and Eels' clubs, the NRL took the initiative on Thursday to confirm the relocation of the 'Battle of the West' trial between the two clubs on February 29. The match will now be held in the NSW South Coast town of Bega, where Canberra and Canterbury did battle last year.

The trial has been moved to help the region get back on its feet after the recent bushfire crisis, and will be combined with a range of player-led community activities and public events in nearby towns.

World Cup draw

On Thursday, Buckingham Palace was the venue as the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw was conducted.

HRH the Duke of Sussex Prince Harry was on hand along with Dame Katherine Grainger DBE and Jason Robinson OBE to draw the various nations from their pots for the Men's, Women's and Wheelchair RLWC events, all set to take place in the 2021 post-season in October & November.

Check out all the info you need here.

Nines news

The NRL 9's are less than a month away and we're starting to hear murmurs from club land about players who'll be involved:

  • The Sydney Roosters have confirmed former Swans and Collingwood AFL player Nick Davis will make the 'code switch' to appear for the premiers in the two-day tournament
  • The Courier Mail reported on Thursday that Broncos legend Corey Parker was set to 'come out of retirement' for the Brisbane club at the event
  • The Roosters have also signed 2019 Super League 'Woman of Steel' Courtney Hill for their NRLW side ahead of the tournament.

Check out the draw for the 14-15 February event here.

Junior rep draws

The NSWRL released the full fixtures for their U16 and U18 Junior Representative competitions on Friday, with the boys Harold Matthews Cup, SG Ball Cup and girls Tarsha Gale Cup all set to commence on February 8.

Check out the draws on our Quick Links page.

Rest in peace

This week marked the loss of a number of important rugby league figures.

Former St George and South Sydney back Brian James lost his life in a tragic accident last week, while former Roosters and Bears centre Mark Harris succumbed to cancer after a long battle on Wednesday.

On Friday, the Sea Eagles confirmed long-time ground announcer Grant Goldman also lost his battle with cancer. He held the microphone at Brookvale Oval for some 35 years before he stepped down from the role in 2016.