McGoldrick contract dispute keeps Castleford guessing

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Castleford must wait and see if they have won the tug of war over Ryan McGoldrick, the centre they thought they had signed from Australia last month.

Wests-Tigers, the Australian club who also claim to have McGoldrick's signature on a contract, have omitted the player from their squad to play in a warm-up game before their World Club Challenge against Bradford on 3 February. But the NRL champions say that they still regard the 24-year-old as their player and may bring him on their trip to England.

The Castleford chief executive, Richard Wright, said: "His representatives over there are in negotiations with West, but there's no progress yet.

"The sooner we can get players into the squad the better, but we are not going to pay Wests a fee for Ryan. If it comes to that, we will look elsewhere.''

The Leeds full-back, Richard Mathers, has been told that he can start playing again after an operation on his wrist.

The England international will make his comeback in the pre-season friendly against York on Sunday after having a plate removed.

"I've made a full recovery and everything is absolutely fine,'' said Mathers, who is one of the Gold Coast's targets for their inaugural season in the Australian competition in 2007.

More than 1,000 mourners attended York Minster yesterday for the funeral of St John Ellis, the former Castleford and Great Britain winger and Doncaster coach who died on New Year's Eve at the age of 41.

The Doncaster chairman, John Wright, paid tribute to Ellis's contribution to the sport in general and to Doncaster's aspirations.

"We both had a dream and Singe won't be able to see that dream through,'' he said. "But what he meant to the game will live on.''