Future can be bright for rugby league, says RFL boss Simon Johnson

Rugby Football League interim chairman Simon Johnson wants to help make the governing body “fit for the future” after taking over the main job.

THE FUTURE'S BRIGHT: RFL interim chairman, Simon Johnson. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

He succeeded Brian Barwick who officially stood down at the RFL’s annual general meeting in Doncaster yesterday.

Johnson, who did not rule out applying for the post on a permanent basis, said; “Along with my fellow directors, I look forward to implementing the recommendations from the Independent Evaluation of the Board which Brian Barwick set in motion.

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“The results were presented to our Council today. We were encouraged to build on the finding that the RFL is “fit for purpose” and to move towards making it “fit for the future.”

HANDING OVER: Outgoing RFL chairman, Brian Barwick. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“Two particular areas will be my initial focus. The first is to make the strategic leadership of the Board more visible to the game. The second will be to reboot the relationship between the Board, the Council and the different elements of the game.

“It will be an honour for me to serve this great game, even for a short time as chair, and I hope that we will all be able to enjoy an exciting end to the season.”

The AGM also approved the reappointment of Chris Brindley MBE as a non-executive director for a second three-year term.

Elsewhere, Hull KR hooker Tommy Lee – at the age of just 31 – announced his retirement from the game with immediate effect.

The former Wakefield Trinity, Crusaders, Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils player started out his career with hometown Hull FC in 2005.

He has not played in Rovers’ recent games and had not been offered a new deal for 2020 but the news still came as a surprise.

Lee said: “Physically I have been struggling with niggles and I feel like I can’t perform each day like I would like to.

“I feel that it’s the right time to call it a day. I have played for almost 15 years at the top level and I’m very proud of that.”

Wigan Warriors have confirmed an interest in signing South Sydney and England prop George Burgess for 2020.