St Helens' coach, Daniel Anderson, is on the short list for one of the biggest jobs in the game, with the Brisbane Broncos.
Anderson will leave Saints at the end of the season, after three and a half years in charge. At the same time, Wayne Bennett will stand down after a 21-year stint with the Broncos.
Brisbane have whittled 33 applicants to nine and it is understood Anderson is one of those under serious consideration. Originally from Sydney and a former New Zealand Test coach, he has expressed an interest in continuing his career in Queensland.
The Melbourne coach, Craig Bellamy, who is currently in England for the World Club Challenge, is still regarded as the Broncos' first choice but he is under contract with the Storm until 2010. The former Australia coach John Lang is another contender. Bennett has inevitably been linked with the Saints vacancy, but is more likely to take up another appointment in Australia.
Anderson's present club are one of four trying to close a four-point gap opened up by Leeds in Super League. Nick Fozzard's season-ending knee injury means Saints are down to three young front-rowers for the visit of Wakefield tomorrow – James Graham, Gareth Frodsham and Bryn Hargreaves.
Wigan get their chance this evening. They will be without the suspended Phil Bailey against Bradford at the JJB Stadium but have Stuart Fielden fit to make his first appearance since last October, probably by way of the bench.
The Great Britain prop, the game's most expensive signing – from Bradford – at £450,000, had shoulder surgery in the close season and then suffered a biceps injury in training.
"He has trained really well this week," said Wigan's coach, Brian Noble, who will finalise his line-up an hour before kick-off.
It will be Fielden's first game since the Super League play-off defeat at Leeds last October. His return is timely in the wake of the Warriors' 24-22 loss to injury-hit Hull and the suspension handed out this week to the second-rower Bailey, who thus loses his ever-present record.
Bradford's veteran Kiwi prop Joe Vagana, who played alongside Fielden for six years at Odsal, is expecting his former team-mate to bounce back after a low-key season in 2007.
"It will be a big boost for Wigan and tough on us because he is a quality player," said Vagana. "He's his own toughest critic and I'm sure he'll be trying to put last year to rest and start afresh against us."
Warrington are at home to the Catalan Dragons, who will be without two of their most experienced players, Casey McGuire and Dane Carlaw, for some time. Thomas Bosc is likely to be switched to scrum-half for the French-based side.
The most surprising name in the chasing group behind Leeds is that of Brian McDermott's Harlequins, who have impressed in winning their last two games. They will be deeply disappointed if they do not make it three in a row at Castleford, who have yet to earn a point on their return to Super League. The Tigers hope to have Brent Sherwin back in action at scrum-half.
In the Northern Rail Cup, Barrow must recover from a 78-0 midweek thrashing by Widnes when they host Leigh – who have beaten Widnes twice.
The Celtic Crusaders, like Leigh and Widnes applicants for a place in Super League when licences are allocated this summer, can clinch top spot in their group if they beat London Skolars today.Reuse content