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Cockayne pens Hull KR contract extension

Long-serving Hull Kingston Rovers winger or full back Ben Cockayne has signed a new contract extension that could take him through to his tenth season with the club.

Credit: Press Association

The former England Knights international was out of contract at the end of the current campaign and has put pen to paper on a new one-year deal with a further one-year option that could keep him at the KC Lightstream Stadium until the end of 2017.

Cockayne has made 180 appearances and scored 68 tries in his two spells with the Robins and having re-joined Rovers last season after playing for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, he said he’s happy to commit his future to a club that means so much.

From my point of view, I just wanted to keep playing for a club that has been a big part of my life for all kind of reasons. I’m very appreciative for all they’ve done for me and it’s a privilege to be able to contribute for hopefully another couple of years.

– Ben Cockayne

Purtell to stay with Bradford Bulls until 2017

Adrian Purtell says he has 'really enjoyed' his time with the Bulls and has 'no desire' to move elsewhere. Credit: Press Association

Adrian Purtell has agreed a new two-year deal with Bradford Bulls, extending his stay with the club until at least the end of 2017.

The 30-year-old Australian said he has 'really enjoyed' his time with the Bulls and has 'no desire' to move elsewhere.

“I love the community feel about the Bulls and the way the supporters continue to get behind the club. I am very positive about where this club can go. Super League is where I and everyone else wants to be, and I feel there is enough quality here to ensure we achieve our goal of promotion. I am totally committed to the cause, whether that means top-flight rugby next year or even the year after. The worst-case scenario will see us have another crack at promotion in 2016, with another fantastic team.”

– Adrian Purtell

He joined the club back in 2011, following lengthy stints in the National Rugby League with Canberra and Penrith.

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Cudjoe commits future to Giants

England International Leroy Cudjoe has committed his long term future to the Huddersfield Giants.

Credit: Press Association

The 27-year-old centre has extended his current arrangement with the club until the end of the 2020 season thus guaranteeing him a further five years in the Claret and Gold.

The hometown academy product from the Newsome Panthers club has to date made 210 appearances scoring 94 tries as well as making 12 England appearances with six tries since he debuted back in 2008.

I am now one of the longest serving players on our books and enjoy working in and around the town with the younger players to try and encourage more

support which we all know we deserve. Our form on the pitch has deserved better but our loyal supporters never leave us and I hope that I can repay their faith in me by playing my part to take us to even greater success.

– Leroy Cudjoe

Yorkshire RL star reveals he is gay

A Yorkshire rugby league player has become the first professional in his sport to come out as gay.

Batley Bulldogs rugby league player Keegan Hirst who has admitted he is gay

Married father-of-two Keegan Hirst, 27, has spoken to the Sunday Mirror about the inner torment he felt trying to come to terms with his sexuality.

Batley Bulldogs prop said: "At first I couldn't even say 'I'm gay' in my head, let alone out loud.

"Now I feel like I'm letting out a long breath that I've held in for a long time."

Cross-code international Gareth Thomas was previously the only openly gay rugby player after he came out while playing for rugby union side Cardiff Blues in 2009.

Thomas, who captained Wales and the British and Irish Lions, went on to play for league side Crusaders before retiring, but Hirst is the first player to come out publicly while playing the 13-man game.

Hirst, who recently told his wife to alleviate guilt she felt about their marriage breaking down, admitted that at his lowest ebb he considered taking his own life.

"On the worst days I'd think, 'I can't do this, I'd rather be dead than for it all to come out'," he added.

"Thankfully I have friends and family I love and was able to talk myself out of it."

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Injury curtails Aiton's Rhinos career

Paul Aiton has played his last match for Leeds after Brian McDermott revealed the Catalans-bound hooker will be out for 16 weeks with a dislocated wrist.

Paul Aiton will miss the remainder of the season with a wrist injury Credit: Press Association

The Papua New Guinea international had already been ruled out of the Challenge Cup final on August 29 after suffering the injury against Warrington last Friday, but has now been denied a potential Old Trafford farewell.

In further bad news for Rhinos fans, back-rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan will miss the start of next season as he recovers from the ruptured quad tendon sustained in the Challenge Cup semi-final win over St Helens.

Aiton joined Leeds from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats ahead of the 2014 season and has become a key member of McDermott's squad.

The 30-year-old rejected a new contract offer from the Rhinos in favour of a switch to Super League rivals Catalans and had spoken just last week about his desire to finish his spell at Headingley Carnegie on a high.

But Aiton will now be forced to watch Leeds' bid for the treble from the sidelines before beginning a new chapter in his career in the south of France.

World Cup winner Manu joins Hull

Hull have announced the signing of World Cup-winning forward Sika Manu.

Sika Manu has joined Hull FC Credit: Press Association

The 28-year-old has agreed a three-year deal with the Black and Whites and will move to England at the end of the season from Penrith.

Manu lifted the World Cup with New Zealand in 2008 while also winning the NRL with Melbourne in 2012, developing a reputation as a fearsome, all-action player.

Manu has over 150 NRL appearances to his name and, having also captained Tonga, will bring a wealth of experience to the KC Stadium.

He joins Mahe Fonua, Frank Pritchard, Scott Taylor and Carlos Tuimavave in joining Hull for next season.

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