Daniel Anderson, who left St Helens at the end of last season, is the new coach of Parramatta, ending any theory that the England boss, Tony Smith, could be tempted by the job. Anderson has been appointed for three years by the Eels, with whom, like Smith, he was once an assistant coach. "I'm incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunity I've been given," said Anderson, whose three and a half successful years with the Saints made him the leading candidate for the post. The waters were muddied last week, however, by claims from Sydney that Smith had thrown his hat into the ring. The England coach, still with a year to run on his contract, denied any interest in the job.
David Williams, the winger known as The Wolfman who a year ago had yet to make his NRL debut, is standing by to play for Australia in the World Cup final on Saturday. Brent Tate injured his hip in the 52-0 victory over Fiji in the semi-final and is a major doubt, with Williams, who scored a hat-trick in his debut against Papua New Guinea earlier in the tournament, the next man in line. A decision on Tate will be delayed, but Williams said: "I'm putting myself in the right frame of mind to play the game."
Australia's full-back, Billy Slater, was unveiled in Brisbane last night as the game's International Player of the Year. Slater, who has scored two hat-tricks in the World Cup so far, was selected by a panel of judges from a short-list, which also included the England captain, Jamie Peacock. Another Australian, Israel Folau, was named as Rookie of the Year, but there was some British success in the Team of the Year voting, with James Graham elected as best prop and Gareth Ellis tying with Australia's Anthony Laffranchi for best second-row.
There was a poignant inclusion in the short-list for the Nations Player of the Year, for players from countries who appeared in the World Cup qualifying competition. Adam Watene, the Wakefield prop who died in training last month, was nominated for his performances for the Cook Islands.