Halifax blow as Donlan is ruled out for season

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The new Halifax coach, Tony Anderson, has suffered a blow to the club's chances of Super League survival with the news that Stuart Donlan will miss the rest of the season.

Donlan has had surgery on a wrist ligament problem and also cracked a cheekbone in the defeat by Warrington on Sunday. The combination of the two means that he will be out of action for six weeks, also making him a doubtful starter for England A's match against New Zealand at Brentford on 30 October, for which he has been named in the squad.

Donlan, normally a centre, is already standing in at full-back for another long-term injury victim, Daryl Cardiss.

Now Anderson must find someone in his depleted squad to take over the role, starting with the match at Salford on Sunday, in which defeat would plunge Halifax deep into relegation trouble.

The much-travelled Australian utility back, Deon Bird, is migrating once more. Bird, who left Hull for Wakefield a few weeks ago, has signed for Widnes next season.

Widnes will be without their front row forward, Ryan McDonald, for the rest of the season. McDonald broke an arm in the victory over Salford on Sunday – his comeback match after a serious leg injury.

David Furner will miss Wigan's game against St Helens on Sunday after undergoing minor knee surgery. His team-mate Brett Dallas has returned to Australia for an operation on a more serious knee injury.

York, who closed down in mid-season, have raised the £75,000 they need for reinstatement into the Rugby League next year. The new club is to be a separate entity from its predecessor, shedding the "Wasps" nickname and logo.

The Rugby Football League is taking on extra staff and opening its ticket office on Saturday mornings in order to cope with the rush for the Super League grand final in October, the three-Test series against New Zealand in November and the Challenge Cup final in Cardiff next April.