L'Estrange days as Bradford attempt to fill Newton void

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The Independent Online

Bradford have moved to fill the void to be left by Terry Newton next season by signing the Manly hooker, Heath L'Estrange. The 24-year-old forward will arrive on a two-year contract to replace Newton, who was offered only a one-year deal and is now expected to join Wakefield.

L'Estrange will arrive with a good pedigree, having played in the side that won the Australian Grand Final last season and beat Leeds in the World Club Challenge earlier this year.

"Obviously he's a replacement for Terry Newton and I'm excited by what he can provide for us when he gets here," said the Bulls coach, Steve McNamara.

He was at pains to stress that the club's other hooker, Wayne Godwin, who is easing his way back after a broken leg, still has an important role at Odsal. "I think Heath and Wayne Godwin will complement each other really well," he said.

Bradford had already announced the signing of one of L'Estrange's Manly team-mates, Glenn Hall. "Hopefully we can help get the winning culture back," L'Estrange said.

Bradford need it back by tomorrow, if they are to make the Super League play-offs this year. The Bulls are in 12th in the table with just 15 points and face a tough test against a Wigan side which has a run of three wins since losing at the Celtic Crusaders.

Wigan's Martin Gleeson may be back after a three-match absence with a thigh injury, possibly at the expense of Darrell Goulding, who marked his return from a loan spell with Salford by scoring the winning try against the Catalan Dragons last week.

The match at Odsal will feature the first appearance of a British Pakistani team, who are playing the Great Britain Under-18 Community Lions. Also tomorrow afternoon, Huddersfield will be trying to consolidate third place when they meet eighth-placed Warrington, who have Lee Briers, Paul Rauhihi and Matty Blythe back in their squad.

The televised evening match takes Harlequins to the Catalans at what their supporters have complained is an inconvenient time, especially for those who had booked on the basis it would be a Saturday evening kick-off.

It almost amounts to a trip home for the former Avignon stand-off Tony Gigot, who is in line for his first-team debut after impressing in the reserves.

Quins are without their regular half-backs, Danny Orr and Luke Dorn, as well as Chad Randall, but Jason Golden is fit to return.