RUGBY LEAGUE: Keighley and Workington supported in fight against `vultures'

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The Independent Online
Clubs outside Super League have rallied around Keighley and Huddersfield to protect them from threats to expel them from the game.

The two clubs - plus the apparently doomed Prescot - are facing expulsion at the meeting of the Rugby League Council on Wednesday, but their peers in the First and Second Division Association have pledged to defend them.

"We don't think that the fans of Keighley and Workington should be deprived of their teams," said Fasda's chief executive, Bob Scott, after yesterday's meeting of the association. "Super League are waiting like vultures to try to grab these two clubs' share of the Murdoch money and the unanimous view was that we should support them."

The former Keighley director, Mike Smith, who was recently sacked from the board by the administrator who has run the club for over a year but who remains in the forefront of efforts to save the club, said that an investor might take the club out of administration this weekend.

Failing that, the outstandingly well-supported Cougars are likely to have hundreds of fans lobbying the Council meeting at Salford. Workington are also capable of staging a demonstration of their determination to survive, despite also being in the hands of an administrator for over a year.

Salford have become the first club to be backed by a High Street fashion label. Joe Bloggs have signed a pounds 240,000 two-year contract to provide the club with a new kit and leisurewear.

The Joe Bloggs chairman, Shami Ahmed, said: "We've got a lot of confidence in Salford and we think they are going places. This is the kind of sport that relates to our street fashions."

Among the first to wear the new shirts were the new signings, Martin Crompton and Josh White, who are expected to contest the scrum-half position next season.

"I was in the same sort of competition with Shaun Edwards at the London Broncos last season," White said. "It makes you perform to the best of your ability."

London have made two more new signings from Australia, with the South Queensland pair of Steele Retchless and Matt Toshack joining their squad.

Warrington have turned down a cash offer from Wigan for Paul Sculthorpe, but, with Leeds and St Helens joining Wigan, London and Bradford in being linked with the player, his agent, David McKnight, expects him to move by the end of next week.

- Dave Hadfield

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