Wigan's injury problems for the 2006 season have started early, with one of their major signings, Bryan Fletcher, rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
The Australian Test second-rower has been struck down with a severe bowel problem and will miss the start of the new season next month. "This is dreadful news, especially for Bryan and his family," said the Wigan chairman, Maurice Lindsay. "It is not connected with football in any way. It is an internal problem and our only concern is that Bryan recovers as quickly as possible."
Fletcher was signed last year from South Sydney on a two-year contract, but has yet to make his debut for Wigan. Last year, the club cancelled the contract of another Australian forward, Luke Davico, after he suffered a career-ending bicep injury in a pre-season friendly.
That was the first of a series of long-term injuries that completely disrupted Wigan's campaign, in which they failed to reach the Super League play-offs for the first time.
They will have a feeling of déjà vu with the news that Gareth Hock and Kris Radlinski are also likely to miss the start of this season. Radlinski has had a flare-up of the knee problem that sidelined him last autumn, while Hock, who missed virtually all of last season following major knee surgery, has suffered a stress fracture to his other leg. "It's his good leg and we will have to rest him for some considerable time," said the Wigan coach, Ian Millward.
New South Wales Police are investigating the possibility of suicide after letters to three of Steve Rogers' children were discovered on his body when the 51-year-old former Australia Test centre was found dead at his home on Tuesday. His son, Mat, who plays for the Australia rugby union side, said that his father had been suffering from depression.
The current Test scrum-half, Craig Gower, has been stripped of the Penrith captaincy and fined A$100,000 (£43,000) after the club found him guilty of drunken behaviour at a charity event.
The Sydney Roosters say that they want to extend Adrian Morley's contract, rather than swap him for Bradford's Stuart Fielden.Reuse content