Castleford turn to Tony to revive faltering season

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The Independent Online

The New Zealand international, Motu Tony, is on his way to Castleford to try to lift them from the foot of the Super League table.

The Tigers have been reported in Australasia as having signed the versatile Tony on a two-year contract.

Castleford have refused to confirm the story: "We hope to have two new players in the team for our next game,'' said the club's spokesman, David Smart. "But it would be premature to name names.''

Tony himself has been more forthcoming, revealing on the website of his club, the Brisbane Broncos, that he has been released from his contract and is on his way to England, although possibly only for the remainder of this season.

"I will just go over and do my best,'' he said. "At the end of the season, I'll see what is best for me and my family.''

Tony is an exciting and highly adaptable player, who filled virtually every back position for his previous club, the New Zealand Warriors, and has played hooker for the national side.

At the end of last season, he signed for the Broncos, but made only two first grade appearances for them before injuring his knee and apparently becoming disillusioned by life with the club.

He will become the second high profile Kiwi to decamp in mid-season, following the Warriors' second-rower, Ali Lauiti'iti, who will join Leeds later this month.

Tony is expected to make his Castleford debut against Salford, the team immediately above them in the table. It is a game which their caretaker coach, Gary Mercer ­ a Kiwi himself ­ has described as their Grand Final.

Tony is likely to be alongside Luke Robinson, the Wigan scrum-half, who is expected to join Castleford on loan after the Challenge Cup final this weekend. Castleford, who do not have a single Super League win to their credit so far this season, sacked their coach, Graham Steadman, last month and have 13 first-teamers on their injured list.

Meanwhile, Sean Long, one of the two St Helens players under investigation for allegedly betting against his own team, is the bookies' favourite for the Lance Todd Trophy for man of the match in the Challenge Cup final in Cardiff tomorrow. Long, who, with Martin Gleeson, is accused of backing Saints to lose at Bradford last month, is quoted at 4-1.

The roof of the Millennium Stadium is to be left open unless a sudden change in weather is predicted.

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