Leeds deny speculation linking Ellis with move to Manly

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The Independent Online

Leeds have reacted angrily to suggestions that their outstanding second-row forward, Gareth Ellis, is a target for the Australian club, Manly.

The NRL grand finalists have been described as being in negotiations with the Great Britain international, who will be a key man for the Rhinos in their Super League Grand Final against St Helens at Old Trafford this Saturday.

A statement from the club accused unnamed individuals of trying to distract them in grand final week. "Gareth is under contract and has no desire to leave," the club insisted.

The Leeds coach, Tony Smith, has no injury problems for Old Trafford, with Ian Kirke recovering from an ankle knock to leave them with only the question of who to leave out.

His St Helens counterpart, Daniel Anderson, said yesterday that neither Sean Long nor Maurie Fa'asavalu had trained with the rest of the squad since missing the victory over Leeds that put Saints in the grand final. Both will be given as long as possible to prove their fitness, but Matty Smith and Paul Clough are training in their roles.

Saints' James Roby has been named this season's Man of Steel. The Great Britain international hooker won the game's leading individual award last night despite starting the majority of Saints' games this season from the substitutes' bench.

Roby, at 21 the youngest winner since Andy Farrell in 1996, took the award in the face of competition from his team-mates, Paul Wellens and Leon Pryce, and Wigan's Trent Barrett.

Anderson made it a Saints double by being named as the coach of the year and Sam Burgess of Bradford is young player of the year.

The Wigan forward, Gareth Hock, could miss the start of the Test series against New Zealand if he is suspended for a dangerous throw at a Rugby League hearing today. Hock was put on report for the tackle on Leeds' Matt Diskin on Friday night.

The Widnes stand-off Dennis Moran has been transferred to Leigh.

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