Chemics entice Platt home

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

Doug Laughton, in charge of Widnes for the third time, has shown that his ability to attract high-profile players remains intact by signing up Andy Platt for the Centenary season.

The former Wigan prop, now with the Auckland Warriors in Australia's Winfield Cup, will prepare for the Halifax World Cup by playing for the Chemics. Laughton hopes that he will make his debut against Whitehaven on Sunday. His arrival is good news for the England coach, Phil Larder, because Platt, whose season with the Warriors was delayed by a knee injury, needs more rugby before the World Cup.

Laughton is also to sign the Parramatta and former Brisbane Broncos winger, Brett Plowman.

One player who will be missing from the World Cup is the New Zealand centre, Jarrod McCracken. The former St Helens player is caught in the middle of the power battle that is ripping the game apart in Australia. His club, the Sydney Bulldogs, are signed up with Rupert Murdoch's Super League, but he is under contract to the Australian . McCracken says that the controversy has affected his form and that he is not in the right frame of mind for the tournament. The Kiwi coach, Frank Endacott, said that he would not consider McCracken when he finalises his squad next week.

Leeds' full-back, Alan Tait, has accepted an invitation to captain Scotland in the Emerging Nations' World Cup.

The Oldham coach, Andy Goodway, has named a near full-strength squad for tonight's game against Halifax, but is reserving the right to experiment with young reserves as the season goes on. The club's chairman, Jim Quinn, is preparing a reply to the 's request for an explanation of the 10 changes Goodway made at Warrington on Sunday.

Warrington's Welsh international forward, Mark Jones, and Bradford's New Zealand prop, Eugene Bourneville, both picked up bans after being cited for fighting in the Bradford-Warrington game last week.

Jones was suspended for two matches and fined pounds 150 for striking an opponent while Bourneville picked up a four-match ban and pounds 100 fine for continuous striking in the same incident.

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