Bradford to present petition for stadium

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Bradford, the Super League champions, hope to emulate Arsenal this week by winning planning permission for a new stadium. The Bulls want to redevelop their Odsal ground, in partnership with Tesco, and two of their players, James Lowes and Scott Naylor, will present a 6,000-signature petition to the leader of Bradford Council, Cllr Margaret Eaton, today.

The proposal for a 26,000 capacity ground will go before the council's planning committee tomorrow, although the government still has the option of referring the scheme to a public inquiry.

The Bulls have been ground-sharing with Bradford City at Valley Parade for a season and admit that, even if their plans are given the go-ahead this week, it is likely to be two years before they move into their new home.

They have also arranged to play a friendly against Castleford on 23 January, as a warm-up for their World Club Championship against the Newcastle Knights on 1 February. That match is being played at the McAlpine Stadium, because Valley Parade lacks under-soil heating.

St Helens, who have arranged pre-season friendlies with Warrington and Widnes, are still in negotiation with the Canterbury-Bankstown prop forward, Barry Ward, who has been earmarked as a replacement for David Fairleigh, the Australian front-rower who retired at the end of last season.

London Broncos are confident of having their scrum-half, Dennis Moran, not only still with them next season, but back to his best. Moran was widely expected to sign for his original club South Sydney, rather than fulfil the remaining year of his contract with London, but he is to rejoin the Broncos at their Australian training camp next month. Moran has had surgery for the knee problem that frequently prevented him from training and finishing matches last season.

The Implementation Group charged with straightening out affairs at the Rugby League's headquarters expects its task to last for another three months. The group has been charged with finding a new chairman for Super League as well as an independent board to run the RFL.