London complete new-look squad

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The Independent Online

London Broncos have added three more young British players to their squad for the new Super League season. The signing of Whitehaven's England Under-21 stand-off Rob Purdham, and the loan acquisition of Wigan reserves Neil Budworth and Rob Jackson, means the Broncos will have 11 English players in their 25-strong squad which flies to Australia next week for pre-season training.

London – who last week announced the signing of Steve Hall, Francis Stephenson and Richard Marshall – have also snapped up Huddersfield's promising stand-off Chris Thorman. But he is being loaned back to the Giants for their Northern Ford Premiership campaign.

The Broncos have re-signed the veteran forward Russell Bawden, along with his former Melbourne Storm team-mate Wayne Evans, a second or front-rower who played for the Northern Eagles for 2001.

London, expecting to announce their new home ground next week, have also appointed a new assistant coach in Steve Deakin, who has resigned as head coach of Keighley to succeed Damian McGrath. Deakin was assistant coach to John Kear when Sheffield Eagles won the Challenge Cup in 1998.

Table-topping Leigh are expecting a 4,000-plus crowd as they aim to gain revenge over Oldham at Hilton Park on Sunday. The Roughyeds gained a 15-14 win over the Centurions in last year's play-offs and also won at Hilton Park in coach Mike Ford's testimonial match last month.

"Oldham have hoodwinked us twice, so it won't be much of a daunting task for them to come to Hilton Park. But I believe it will be third time lucky for us," said the Leigh coach Paul Terzis. "We've a totally new team, with new directions and new structures."

Terzis has used 24 of his 25-strong squad in the three games so far and may complete the full set with the inclusion of the former St Helens forward Vila Matautia.

"We're waiting for a few checks, but Vila is training and he will go very close to selection," said Terzis, who is hoping his squad will benefit from the Samoan heavyweight's professionalism and experience. "He's here for one reason, and that's to take us to the next level."

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