Super League clubs have agreed to give Great Britain their best possible chance in Australia this summer by bringing forward an entire round of games.
The clubs will now play the matches scheduled for the weekend of 5 July on the previous Wednesday or Thursday, allowing the Test team to fly out on the Friday a week before the one-off Test in Sydney on 12 July.
"I am delighted that the clubs have shown their commitment to the international game,'' said the Great Britain coach, David Waite. "The people who will benefit most from this will be the players.''
Two of the Australians Great Britain expect to face have been the subject of a club investigation after a heated and public argument. Newcastle team-mates Andrew Johns and Ben Kennedy, both of whom played in the Ashes series last autumn, were involved in a row in a pub which carried on in a park across the street.
The Knights acting chief executive, Stephen Crowe, said: "We are satisfied it was not of a serious nature and there is no remaining issue between the two players.''
The incident, however, makes it less likely that Johns, who has something of a record of off-field misbehaviour, will succeed Brad Fittler as Australia captain.
The Wakefield coach, Peter Roe, has denied allegations on the club's website that he pushed a supporter after the Super League game against Castleford on Sunday. "If in making my way to the dressing-room area I bumped into anyone, it would have been totally unintentional,'' Roe said.
St Helens' Test centre, Paul Newlove, is set to play for the first time since snapping an Achilles tendon last summer in Friday night's game against Salford. "Paul has recovered from what was a career-threatening injury and his progress in the last few weeks has been remarkable. He will feature on Friday,'' said the Saints coach, Ian Millward.
"He is obviously going to be short of match fitness, but given time I am sure he will regain his best form. I have never seen Paul looking stronger.''
Salford have problems for that match with Graham Holroyd ruled out for a month with an elbow broken in training, Mike Wainwright nursing a torn hamstring and Alan Hunte with a knee injury.
Oldham have taken the Leeds reserve centre, David Foster, on a month's loan.
The Wigan forward Simon Haughton has been suspended for two matches for reckless use of the forearm in the opening Super League game against Bradford.Reuse content