Arthurson downgrades rebels

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The Independent Online
The five Canberra Super League players who won their court case against the Australian Rugby League and its decision to exclude them from the Centenary World Cup have been warned not to pack their suitcases, writes Dave Hadfield.

The ARL has yet to respond formally to the court's ruling that it must consider Super League players for the tournament. However, its executive chairman, Ken Arthurson, said yesterday that players in Sun day's Grand Final between Manly and the Sydney Bulldogs were the leading candidates for the 25-man squad.

"None of the players who have suggested they should be in the team are in the Grand Final and I think the two best teams are in the Grand Final," Arthurson said.

Seven Manly players appeared in the all-ARL teams against New Zealand this season and, although the Bulldogs are aligned with Super League, their only players in contention - Dean Pay, Jason Smith, Jim Dymock and Brett Dallas - have all stayed loyal to the ARL.

Other players who appeared in that series, including the current captain, Brad Fittler, have urged the ARL to continue to exclude Super League players.

Sheffield Eagles have re-signed their record points-scorer, Mark Aston, just over a year after selling him to Featherstone and for a fraction of the pounds 100,000 fee they received.

Aston goes straight into the side at scrum-half against the London Broncos on Sunday."We need his experience and I'm sure he will get back to the form he showed in his eight years with us," said the Sheffield chairman and coach, Gary Hetherington.