Angry club’s ‘hands off’ warning to raiding rivals

English club Warrington has issued a stern “hands off” warning to NRL clubs chasing star halfback George Williams.

One of the Lions’ best during the Rugby League World Cup, Williams has already proven he can handle the NRL in his impressive 18-month stint with Canberra.

Several NRL clubs are struggling for direction at No.7 and have their eyes on the smart Englishman.

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But Warrington boss Karl Fitzpatrick told Wide World of Sports they will have to look elsewhere.

“George still has two years left to run on his contract with Warrington – end of story,” Fitzpatrick said from England.

“You don’t sell your best players and we are happy with George and he is happy with us so he is staying right here.”

Williams was so impressive in the World Cup that he beat Nathan Cleary, Jahrome Hughes and Anthony Milford to be named at halfback in the team of the tournament.

FORMER STORM NO.7 ATTRACTING INTEREST

Another Super League halfback in demand in the NRL is former Storm and Broncos playmaker Brodie Croft.

Croft never really set the world on fire in his six seasons in the NRL but came of age this year at Salford.

Like Jackson Hastings did a few years back, the move to the UK saw Croft shine and he won the Man of Steel award – Super League’s equivalent of the Dally M Medal.

The Knights were keen on Croft, before ironically signing Hastings, and several other clubs have asked about his availability.

But Croft, whose partner is English, has pledged his allegiance to Salford for the next 12 months and NRL clubs will have to wait until 2024 to have a crack at him.

CONTROVERSY AFTER REFEREE ‘MELTDOWN’

There’s been massive controversy in Europe following the Wheelchair World Cup final between England and France at Manchester last Friday night.

England won the game with a controversial late try, prompting the French referee to vent his frustrations at his fellow officials and the crowd.

The International Rugby League has launched an investigation into the behavior of Laurent Abrial during and after the final.

Abrial had to be restrained by fellow officials after the full-time siren after an embarrassing meltdown.

IRL secretary general Danny Kazandjian said: “The referee’s performance is currently being reviewed but, based on publicly available evidence, IRL believes that an investigation into potential misconduct is warranted.

“If our investigation supports that initial view we will seek disciplinary actions through the independent IRL judiciary.

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“Until the full process is concluded Laurent Abrial will not be considered for any appointments to international matches.”

French magazine Treize Mondial admitted Abrial’s actions were not acceptable but also hinted at the standard of officiating – there was one English and one French referee.

“It is difficult to dispute that the attitude of the French referee is not appropriate for a World Cup final,” the magazine commented.

“Laurent Abrial seems to have lost his temper and on this there is nothing to complain about. However, this final played by incredible athletes was generally marked by a biased refereeing on both sides that has no place at this level of competition and the English seem to forget that a little.”

STORM SIGN GIANT SYDNEY PROP

A giant young prop from Campbelltown City in Sydney’s south west has joined the Storm system.

The Victorian local league has signed Che Te Rangi and he is hoping to play Jersey Flegg with the Storm in 2023.

The 20-year-old couldn’t make the cut at Wests Magpies a couple of years ago due to fitness issues.

But he got his act together last season, got himself in shape and had half a dozen clubs chasing him.

Despite his tender years, the youngster played in the front row for Campbelltown last season and will be one to watch over the next couple of seasons in the Storm system.

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