Honours highlight Saints' strength

St Helens' half-backs have underlined the threat they present to Wigan in the Super League Grand Final on Saturday by walking off with the season's leading individual awards.

St Helens' half-backs have underlined the threat they present to Wigan in the Super League Grand Final on Saturday by walking off with the season's leading individual awards.

The England scrum-half, Sean Long, was last night named as the Tetley's Bitter Man of Steel, selected by a panel of journalists as having made the greatest impact on the competition this season.

Long's fellow professionals differed only slightly from that opinion, shortlisting him and Wigan's Andy Farrell, but choosing Saints' stand-off, Tommy Martyn, as the Players' Player of the Year.

Long and Martyn also shared, with Castleford's Darren Rogers, the award for Super League's leading try-scorer.

Wigan's Frank Endacott edged out Ian Millward of Saints and Bradford's recently departed Matthew Elliott as Coach of the Year, while the Bulls' prop forward, Stuart Fielden, was named as Young Player.

Whilst Long and Martyn were receiving the plaudits, Saints' other half-back at the start of the season, Darrell Trindall, was planning to return to Britain to pursue his case for breach of contract.

Trindall has won the first stage of his case with Saints' failure to win indemnity against costs at a hearing in Liverpool. "Darrell now intends to come back for the court case," said his solicitor, Richard Cramer, who intends to call the sacked Saints coach, Ellery Hanley, and the leading Australian coach Alan Jones as witnesses.

Trindall was sent home after making just two appearances for Saints, who cancelled his contract, claiming that he was unable to play because of injury.

Graham Mackay, who made a major impact for Leeds, has won his international release from the French rugby union club, Beziers, and can spend this winter playing for the Rhinos' sister club, the Leeds Tykes, before looking for a new Super League contract next year.

Ireland have completed their squad for the World Cup by calling up the Australian-born centre, Liam Tallon, in place of the injured Gary Connolly.

Tallon, whose father comes from Port Laoish and who has an Irish passport, plays for Brisbane Norths in the Queensland State competition. "We have watched a video of Liam and Mark Murray, the Queensland State of Origin coach, rates him very highly," said the Irish co-coach, Andy Kelly.

"Liam is desperate to play for Ireland and we are looking forward to having him as part of our squad."

Connolly first said he was withdrawing for personal reasons, which would not allow Ireland to bring in a replacement, but he now has an ankle ligament injury which also threatens his place in Saturday's final.

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