Castleford capture Aussies

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The Independent Online
Castleford go into tonight's World Club Championship game with the Hunter Mariners with two new Australian signings on the sidelines, if not on the pitch.

The club yesterday completed the transfer of Brad Davis from Wakefield Trinity. The former Nottingham, Huddersfield and York back was transfer- listed at pounds 200,000, but the fee has not been disclosed.

He joins the ex-South Sydney prop, Richard McKell, who has also made the move from Wakefield. Formalities over new work permits are likely to prevent either making a debut tonight, but it is planned to parade them before the match.

Graham Steadman will replace the injured Jason Critchley, while Hunter will have Kevin Iro making his first start since rupturing an Achilles tendon at the start of the season.

A series of injuries have interrupted Iro's career since he was rated the best centre in the world during his time with Wigan a decade ago, and his jinx seemed to have wrecked his first season with the Mariners.

"It is normally a one-year recovery job, but I put my head down, worked hard and got a result," Iro, now 29, said about his return. "I checked around and I think the record to come back from an injury like that was 13 weeks, so I set my sight on that. I got back in 16 weeks."

"It's a bit of a miracle that Kevin is with us. He is back well ahead of schedule," the Mariners' coach, Graham Murray, said. "He had 60 minutes against Paris on Sunday and he was a handful."

The Leeds coach, Dean Bell, has promised a big improvement in today's other game, against the Adelaide Rams.

"A few of the players turned in very ordinary displays against the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend," He said. "Now they want to make amends to the fans and the British people as a whole.''

Peter Deakin, the marketing manager at the Bradford Bulls who has made them the best-supported and highest-profile club in the country, is leaving to take up a new role as marketing director with Rugby League (Europe) - the organisation of Super League clubs. The former Oldham Bears forward joined Bradford after returning in 1994 from America, where he had worked in sports management.