Kimmorley keen on Leeds

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The Independent Online

A number of Northern Eagles players, headed by the Australian scrum-half, Brett Kimmorley, could be on their way to England if, as expected, the club folds at the end of the season.

The merger between Manly and North Sydney looks set to collapse after two years and agents are touting their clients to British clubs.

Adam Muir was lined up to join St Helens, if they had not re-signed David Fairleigh, while Kimmorley, dropped for Friday's Test against New Zealand, is being linked with Leeds. Others, like the Test back-row Steve Menzies, winger Lenny Beckett and the former London Broncos stand-off Ben Walker, are likely to create interest in England.

The complication could come if the Eagles' franchise reverts to Manly, who could try to resign the pick of the players for next season. Leeds, who are set to lose Iestyn Harris at the end of the season, could also face competition from Cronulla for Kimmorley. Their coach, Chris Anderson, is also in charge of the national side and tried in vain to keep Kimmorley in his line-up.

Cronulla are also interested in Matthew Johns, who is in the first year of a two-year contract at Wigan, but whose family problems could see him return early to Australia. Wigan hope to clarify that situation today, along with confirming the former England coach, John Kear, as assistant to Stuart Raper, who was named yesterday as Super League coach of the month, with Adrian Lam completing a Wigan double by taking the players' award.

Hull's Great Britain hooker, Lee Jackson, is out for the season after being told that he will need surgery to repair a torn bicep. Hull will, however, have their other specialist in the position, Paul King, back for the match at London next Sunday.

Halifax' teenaged loose-forward, Danny Tickle, has followed Leeds' Chev Walker in withdrawing from the Great Britain Academy tour to Australia and New Zealand later this month. Tickle has asked to be released for personal reasons.

Walker, selected as the tour captain, will now play instead for England against Wales in the full international at Wrexham on 31 July, with his Leeds team-mate, Robert Burrow, taking over his leadership role on the Academy trip.

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