Anderson raises eyebrows with recall of injured trio

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The Independent Online

Anderson has named three players who had been ruled out for the season for the match that could take his side to the Grand Final.

Sean Long and Darren Albert both fractured their cheekbones against Wigan last month, while Jason Hooper dislocated his shoulder in the defeat by Leeds last Friday.

Anderson was cagey about his apparent willingness to take a massive risk by including one or all of them against the Bulls. "It's elimination, so there's a different mindset and a different reward," he said. "The season's finished if we don't do the job."

Long and Albert, both potential match-winners, could play in protective face-masks, as Matt Adamson did for Leeds in last year's Challenge Cup final. But the dangers are obvious.

Hooper was immediately ruled out for the season after suffering his injury against Bradford, but Anderson said that the medical advice had been more upbeat since then.

He also hinted, however, that he was considering using Jamie Lyon, Saints' outstanding attacker all season, in Hooper's stand-off role.

By comparison, Brian Noble's squad announcement for Bradford was dull and predictable, with the same 20 named following their 71-0 win over Hull.

He also seemed unfazed by the surprises unveiled by his opposite number. "If all three of those players play, then so be it," he said. "We're preparing to be as good as we can be."

Stephen Kearney, the Hull second-rower who was sent off against Bradford, has been suspended for two matches for his careless high tackle. The Kiwi international had already decided to retire.

Mark O'Neill, the Wests Tigers second-rower, is lined up for a move to Castleford, provided they win promotion to Super League by beating Whitehaven in the National League 1 Grand Final on Sunday.

Nathan Hindmarsh, considered the best second-rower in the world, has been ruled out of the Tri-Nations. The Parramatta forward has failed a fitness test on his knee and been replaced by the St George Illawarra Dragons' Ben Creagh.

New Zealand have been forced to write Benji Marshall and Dene Halatau out of their plans after the Tigers pair were booked in for shoulder surgery.

The Wakefield prop, Michael Korkidas, will captain Greece against Malta in Sydney on Sunday. The Australian-based Greeks plan to play in Athens later this year and to follow in the footsteps of Lebanon by establishing a domestic competition.

Hull KR's second-rower, Andy Raleigh, who is joining Huddersfield next season, has been named as the LHF Healthplan national League 1 player of the year. John Tuimaualuga of Workington Town has received the award for NL2.

Whitehaven's Steve McCormack is NL1 coach of the year. Mick Cook, whose York City Knights have already clinched promotion from NL2, has won the award for that division.