Rugby League: Goulding out in the cold at St Helens

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The Independent Online
THERE is still no place for the Great Britain scrum-half, Bobbie Goulding, in the St Helens' team to travel to Castleford on tomorrow - a fact that is bound to increase speculation about a parting of the ways.

Two other players left out of last week's starting line-up by the Saints coach, Shaun McRae, are recalled, with Damien Smith at centre and Karle Hammond at loose-forward. Andy Haigh and Apollo Perelini drop to the bench. But McRae has continued to ignore the claims of Goulding, opting instead for the pairing of Sean Long and Tommy Martyn at half-back.

Two other Super League coaches threatened extensive changes after sub- standard performances last week. In the event, Salford's Andy Gregory has had some changes forced upon him, with Phil Hassan and Martin Crompton both suffering from back injuries. Mark Lee makes his first Super League start of the season at scrum-half against Wigan, while Robert Russell - the latest off the production line at the Eccles club that also nurtured Nathan McAvoy and Adrian Morley - makes his debut on the wing.

Salford have signed another young player of outstanding promise, the British Amateur Rugby League Association's Youth Player of the Year, Stuart Littler, from Leigh Miners-Rangers.

Wigan's 20-year-old prop, Neil Baynes, makes his first appearance this year, preferred to Terry O'Connor, who remains in the A team.

Last weekend's other obviously dissatisfied coach was Sheffield Eagles' John Kear. He criticised his Wembley-winners' lack of hunger and indicated changes that will begin, but perhaps not finish, with a first start of the season for Willie Morganson.

Sheffield's opponents, London, have one injured player back in Chris Ryan, but are still without Martin Offiah, John Timu and Mark Carroll.

Warrington will be missing Adam Doyle, who needs a groin operation, as well as Lee Briers, while Brendon Tuuta faces a fitness test before tomorrow evening's visit from Bradford. The Bulls replace Danny Peacock, out for the season with a serious knee injury, with the versatile Nathan Graham.

The British Amateur Rugby League Association's chief executive, Maurice Oldroyd, will learn next month whether any action is to be taken against him over allegations of irregularities involving Barla tours. Oldroyd has been suspended from his job during investigations.