Maguire avoids a war of words

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The Independent Online

The Wigan coach, Michael Maguire, has characteristically refused to be drawn into a war of words with Leeds.

Relations between the two clubs are strained going into Saturday's qualifying semi-final, following Danny McGuire's season-ending knee injury in their first play-off meeting.

"All we are doing is concentrating on what we need to do," insisted the Wigan boss, who admitted that Thomas Leuluai had apologised to McGuire for remonstrating with him as he lay injured.

"Certainly things go on after the game that need to be done and that's what happened, but that's where I'm going to leave it."

Despite dislocating his finger last week, Sam Tomkins will be in Maguire's squad, whilst Paul Deacon has a chance of being fit after his hip injury.

Kyle Eastmond is back in St Helens' squad to face Huddersfield tomorrow, also after a hip injury. Jonny Lomax is also back, but Matty Smith holds his place after an outstanding contribution in the win over Warrington.

Wakefield have begun to rebuild their depleted squad by signing the New Zealand Test half-back, Jeremy Smith, from Salford and the back-row forward, Frankie Mariano, from Hull KR. Both have agreed one-year deals, in Smith's case after spending the last two seasons at The Willows.

"Jeremy is an international quality player and will add an extra competitive edge to the middle of the field," said the Wildcats' coach, John Kear.

Smith, who has three Kiwi caps, and Mariano are Wakefield's first confirmed signings for next season, although Warrington's Kevin Penny and Jessie Joe Parker of Featherstone are known to be on their way.

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