Wigan have had their worst fears confirmed with the news that their captain, Andy Farrell, will be out for four months after knee surgery this week.
Farrell, who led Great Britain in this month's Ashes series against Australia, will miss the early rounds of the 2004 Challenge Cup as well as the opening weeks of the new Super League season.
"It was confirmed last night that the operation to Andrew's knee was as serious as we feared," said the Wigan chairman, Maurice Lindsay. "In an attempt to cure his long-standing problem it was necessary to actually create a micro-fracture of part of the knee bone.
"Andrew desperately wanted to play against Australia and we delayed the operation to support both him and Great Britain." Wigan's other playmaker, Adrian Lam, will miss the early months of the season - also with a knee injury - even if he is offered a new contract. The absence of both international captains will put a heavy onus on their new signing from Castleford, Danny Orr, who has already started training with his new team-mates.
Hull KR want Daryl Powell as their new coach, though he has begun a four-year contract at Leeds. Powell stood aside as coach at Headingley last season, but is scheduled to replace Tony Smith after two years as Leeds' director of rugby.
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