Donald cheers Leeds with deal to stay another year

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The Independent Online

Leeds received a boost on the eve of today's demanding fixture at Huddersfield by signing the ultra-consistent Australian Scott Donald for another year.

The winger, who did not miss a game for almost three seasons after joining the club and made a record 92 consecutive starts before the birth of his second child in August last year, was due to be out of contract at the end of this campaign. But he will now stay at least until the end of the 2010 Super League season before considering a return Down Under. "The city of Leeds feels like home to us," he said.

The Rhinos coach, Brian McClennan welcomed Donald's decision. "He's a great finisher, as his record shows, but he is also a very important player for us defensively," he said.

Donald returns to the Leeds line-up today after missing the shock home defeat by Salford on Easter Monday – the champions' third reverse in a row. Huddersfield, by contrast, are full of confidence after a run of form that has taken them above Leeds and into second place in the table. Even the loss of their new signing, Liam Fulton, in only his second game, looks a minor inconvenience in view of the way that young players such as Michael Lawrence have been performing.

The Giants have invited the Rugby League's top brass to come and see for themselves how the club has been transformed on and off the field. Of course, it is to be hoped that today is not the day when they fluff their lines – but there has been no sign of them doing that so far.

Salford, still aglow from that victory at Headingley, add their new loan signing from Wigan, Darrell Goulding, to their squad for today's game at the Catalan Dragons. He could be a straight swap for the injured Mark Henry, but Karl Fitzpatrick is also in line for a return against a French side that was impressive in dispatching Wigan on Monday.

Bradford have moved to augment their depleted ranks by signing the French hooker or half-back Julien Rinaldi on a short-term deal until the end of June.

Rinaldi, who played for the Catalans and Harlequins in Super League, has been playing country football in Australia, where he represented France in the World Cup last autumn. With Paul Deacon and Wayne Godwin on the Bradford injury list, he could provide valuable cover in both his specialist positions.

"I've only signed for two months, but I want to give it another crack, help the Bulls to get back up the table and hopefully prove that I'm worth a longer contract," he said.