Kelly and Rea look to change for the better

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Two of Super League's more patient coaches have run out of that commodity this weekend, with Widnes's Neil Kelly and Tony Rea of the London Broncos making the team changes they have been threatening.

Widnes and London have been the most disappointing sides in the competition this season, after being in the running for play-off places last year. This time, they have won just three games apiece, and too many players at both clubs have failed to come up with the goods.

Today is the day of reckoning, with Rea axing three players - Rob Jackson, Richard Marshall and Damien Kennedy - from the team whipped at St Helens last weekend for the visit to Wakefield.

Even more startling than that is the relegation of Dennis Moran, so often a match-winner last year, to the bench. Moran has not been at his sharpest since a close-season knee operation, and Rea has opted to go instead with a young British half-back pairing of Rob Purdham and Chris Thorman. Tommy Gallagher, a young prop on loan from Leeds, is given his first start in a line-up which is extensively reshuffled.

Kelly is playing his cards a little closer to his chest, but he has hinted that there will be three or four changes for the match at home to Huddersfield today. The return of Deon Bird and Marvin Golden from injury gives Kelly the scope to ring the changes, even though Stuart Spruce has gone down with shingles, but his priority must be finding the right midfield. The coach admits he might have got it wrong when he moved Jules O'Neill from stand-off to accommodate the return of Ryan Sheridan from illness.

The combination has not clicked since that change, so it is likely that O'Neill will return to No 6, with Dean Lawford expected to miss out with a hamstring strain. What Kelly must hope is that the changes will reignite the fierce team spirit that served them so well last season.

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