Blakeley's exit worries Wolves 

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The Independent Online

Steve Blakeley, the England stand-off, is returning to Salford after starting just four games for Warrington. Salford will unveil Blakeley for the second time in his career today after losing him at the end of last season when they could not meet his contract expectations. He signed originally for Huddersfield, but that deal folded after the club merged with Sheffield and he subsequently joined the Wolves.

"I'm disappointed to lose a player, but it is a request from him," the Warrington coach, Darryl Van de Velde, said. "I don't much want to keep a player here who isn't happy."

Warrington say that Salford will have to pay a fee to reclaim Blakeley, who joined them from Wigan in 1992. Despite that, the Reds say they are delighted to get him back. They have had problems at stand-off this season, with a variety of players filling the role and will also welcome Blakeley's accurate goal-kicking.

At Warrington, Blakeley has had to share the stand-off position with Lee Briers and has also been held back by injuries. All the same, his departure leaves the Wolves with meagre resources at half-back. "I can't afford any injuries there," Van de Velde said. "But this could free up finance to strengthen in other positions."

After their heavy investment in the overseas "big three" of Allan Langer, Andrew Gee and Tawera Nikau, Warrington are woefully shallow in the outside backs. Van de Velde has tried to sign Leeds' Paul Sterling and has also investigated the prospects of finding someone suitable in Wales or among EU passport-holders in Australia.

Salford, next to bottom of Super League, hope that Blakeley will be fit to make his debut against Halifax on Sunday.

Lokeni Savelio, the Halifax and former Salford forward, has been placed on the transfer list after asking for a move.

One of the most charismatic players in the game has announced his sudden retirement. The St George-Illawarra stand-off, Anthony Mundine, has returned to Australia from a week's unauthorised absence in America to reveal that he is quitting the sport.

After a 10-minute meeting, Mundine and the club announced that they had reached a severance agreement. The details have not been made public, but they are likely to include a clause preventing him from re-starting his career elsewhere. That is bad news for any British clubs watching his situation. Leeds and Wigan had been linked to Mundine, while St Helens, coached by the former Illawarra man, Ian Millward, could also have had an inside track to the player. Mundine might now pursue his ambitions in boxing.

Keighley have been named Northern Ford Premiership team of the month for April after winning all five games.

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