Leigh part company with Abram as the drop looms

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The Independent Online

Defeat by the league leaders, Leeds, on Sunday will send Leigh back into National League 1 - but Abram, the coach who took them up, will not be going there with them.

"I had discussions with the board and we both had different ideas," he said. "I needed to see what the future held and if I'd got full support and felt we were working together I would have stayed."

A statement from Leigh paid tribute to the work Abram has done at the club. "The team and the club ave progressed enormously with the hard work that Darren has put in, leaving us in a very strong position to move forward," it said.

Leigh have put their assistant coach, Tommy Martyn, and their conditioner, Heath Cruckshank, in temporary charge, but will advertise the job.

"We still have plenty to play for," insisted their general manager, Mike Callaghan. "If we can get off the bottom of the table, anything can happen, depending on who wins National League 1."

Despite clinging to that sort of hope, Leigh's position is close to hopeless. They have just five points from their 22 Super League matches so far and are six behind Widnes.

Widnes have signed two Australians to try to save them from the drop. Brad Watts, from South Sydney, and Keiran Kerr, of St George-Illawarra, replace the injured Owen Craigie and Shane Millard and go straight into the squad to play Bradford on Sunday.

Andrew Johns has been given clearance by the Australian Rugby League to take up a short-term contract with Warrington for the end of this season.

Johns is due to arrive in time to make his debut at home to Leeds on 11 September, but the thornier question of what he will be doing five weeks later has been shelved for now.

If he guides Warrington to the Grand Final on 15 October, it will clash with Australia's Tri-Nations game against New Zealand, but he has deferred any request to the ARL to be allowed to miss that match.

"Andrew has enormous respect for the Australian jumper and neither he nor the ARL should attempt to decide such an issue at this stage," said his manager, John Fordham.