Crossed wires at Leeds

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The Independent Online
After the euphoria of Tuesday, doubts have been growing inside and outside Headingley over some aspects of the new links between the Leeds league and union clubs, writes Dave Hadfield.

The league club's football manager, Hugh McGahan, has dismissed the idea of players taking part in both codes, all year round. "Our coach, Dean Bell, certainly isn't happy at the prospect of players turning out 52 weeks of the year. All players need a time to rest and get over niggling injuries," he said.

"We are desperately keen to challenge Wigan for the game's honours and are not going to do that if most of our players are tired because of playing all the year round."

The League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, has also expressed his doubts. "We believe that the welfare of the players is paramount and that surely cannot be helped by all-the-year-round rugby," he said.

Meanwhile, there are those in amateur rugby league irritated by Leeds' clear hope that league fans will flock to Headingley to watch union in the winter. "I can understand the relationship with rugby union," said Barla's national administrator, Maurice Oldroyd, "but we should be encouraging people to support our own game."

Local amateur sides such as Milford draw gates which compare with those at the union club, but Leeds' chairman, Denis Greenwood, admitted at the launch of the cross-code adventure that they had never seriously considered going into partnership with one of them.

The Silk Cut Challenge Cup ties planned for Bradford and Whitehaven tonight have been delayed until Sunday.

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