LUCKY seven for Hull
WIGAN'S woes continue
JONES inspires Dragons
WIGAN has sacked Australian coach Ian Millward after a wretched start to the English Super League season.
ENGLISH rugby league club Hull has hired Australian Peter Sharp as new head coach.Head coach of NRL sides the Northern Eagles and Manly from 1999-2003, Sharp is currently assistant to former Hull boss Brian Smith at Parramatta. The 51-year-old is expected to be able to take up the position immediately, subject to obtaining a work permit.He takes over from John Kear, who left the last week after a string of poor results in Super League.
HULL have suffered a double blow as they prepare for their engage Super League match against champions Bradford, with the loss of hooker Richard Swain and prop Ewan Dowes. Swain, Hull?s captain, is likely to be sidelined for at least six weeks with a torn bicep - while Dowes suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury in Friday?s 10-6 home defeat by Harlequins. ?Richard?s injury and loss puts pressure on us - but it also opens a door for someone else to step up to the plate and take their chance,? said coach John Kear.Hull, who have lost their last two matches, crashed to a club record 71-0 on their last visit to Odsal in the play-offs last October.Meanwhile, Bradford, who have the chance to leapfrog St Helens into top spot, are enjoying a 17-match unbeaten run stretching back to last July - but coach Brian Noble believes Hull represent dangerous opposition. ?There will be a lot of emotional issues in their thinking for this game,? he said. ?The last time they were here they lost 71-0, and it will have been in their minds during the close season. They have an early opportunity to put the record straight. ?They also started the season very well but have now lost two games in a row, and that is something they will want to put right.?New Zealand Test winger Lesley Vainikolo, who has played only one of the Bulls? opening four League matches because of an ankle injury, is included in the squad. Bradford Bulls v Hull FC, Odsal, Friday March 10 2006Bradford 18-man squad: Hape, Deacon, Vagana, Fielden, I. Harris, B. Harris, St Hilaire, Lynch, Bai, Gene, Pryce, Ferres, Vainikolo, Henderson, Langley, McKenna, Withers, Cook.Hull 18-man squad: Briscoe, Brough, Carvell, Chester, Cooke, Domic, Dixon, Hill, R. Horne, King, Lupton, Radford, Raynor, Thackray, Tony, Wheeldon, Yeaman, Whiting.Referee: K Kirkpatrick
WIGAN and Warrington meet at the JJB Stadium on Friday night desperate for points, having found themselves in the wrong half of the table after the first four rounds. While the Wolves have shown a gradual improvement since their opening-round defeat by Salford, Wigan are fresh from a crushing 28-10 defeat at Salford - a result coach Ian Millward is confident was a one-off. ?I?m disappointed that we?ve not got more than one win,? he said.?But if you look at the three games we lost the only one that has really upset me was the poor performance at Salford. ?I?d like to think it was a minor setback; I?m very confident that it was. ?We?ve made some mistakes but we?re working hard to rectify them, and I think people will see how hard we?ve been working on Friday night. ?I know where we?re going. Nothing has been lost, but we have a lot to gain. Twenty-four games is a lot of games.?Millward is boosted by the return of his captain Sean O?Loughlin and he will make a late decision on whether to play Australian Test forward Bryan Fletcher or give him another run-out with the Under-21s as he continues his rehabilitation from major stomach surgery. Warrington coach Paul Cullen, with virtually a full-strength pack to choose from, has dropped prop Danny Lima after a run of 50 successive appearances. ?Rob Parker?s recovery from injury gives me the opportunity to rotate the pack,? said Cullen, who is delighted with his side?s improved form. ?We have improved with every outing since round one. Unfortunately we came up against the best side in the competition last week - and we were one score off them. ?It is a mark of our progress that we were very disappointed we didn?t win. The mood in the camp is positive.?Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves, JJB Stadium, Friday March 10 2006Wigan 18-man squad: Ashton, Brown, Calderwood, Dallas, Godwin, Hargreaves, Hansen, Higham, Paleaaesina, Logan, Moran, O'Loughlin, Orr, Prescott, Richards, Seu Seu, Tickle, Vaealiki.Warrington 18-man squad: Grose, Fa'afili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Briers, Sullivan, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, M. Gleeson, Westwood, Wood, Barnett, Parker, Bridge.Referee: A Klein
BRADFORD'S Australian second row forward Brad Meyers could be sidelined for nearly three months with a knee injury.The 26-year-old Meyers, who has missed only four matches since joining the Bulls from Brisbane Broncos 18 months ago, suffered ruptured medial ligaments in his left knee during his side's 50-18 win over Catalans Dragons last Saturday. Cook Islander Adam Watene, a close-season signing from Castleford, has been brought in as cover and could make his Bradford debut against Hull at Odsal on Friday.
CASTLEFORD and Catalans Dragons have announced their 20-man squads for Sunday's clash in round three of the engage Super League.Castleford v Catalans Dragons, Sunday February 26, kick-off 15.30Castleford 20-man: Platt, Pryce, Shenton, Dyer, Blanch, Handforth, Kain, Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Mason, Haughey, Roarty, Bird, Huby, Fletcher, A. Smith, Viane, Fa?aoso, McGoldrick.Catalans Dragons 20-man: Guigue, Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges, Frayssinous, Beattie, Berthezene, Guisset, Hindmarsh, Mounis, Bosc, Rudder, Zitter, Chan, Fellous, Touxagas, Fakir, Casty, Rinaldi.Ref: S GansonThanks to www.superleague.co.uk
WARRINGTON?S pack is bolstered by the return of Australian Chris Leikvoll and the long-serving Mark Hilton but new signings Paul Rauhihi and Rob Parker are still on the sidelines and young second rower Andy Bracek drops out because of illness.Hull have skipper and hooker Richard Swain back from injury but prop Ewan Dowes is still out with hamstring trouble and Liam Higgins is set to continue to deputise.Warrington v Hull, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Saturday February 25, kick-off 6pmWarrington 18-man: Grose, Fa?afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Briers, Sullivan, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, Mark Gleeson, Westwood, Wood, Lima, Barnett, Bridge.Hull 18-man: Blacklock, Briscoe, Brough, Carvell, Cooke, Domic, Higgins, R. Horne, King, Lupton, McMenemy, Radford, Raynor, Swain, Thackray, Tony, Whiting, Yeaman.Ref R Silverwood Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk