Millward lures Australian star

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The Independent Online

Wigan have negotiated the first comings and goings of the Ian Millward era with the signing of the Australian winger, Pat Richards, on a two-year contract and the departure of Wayne McDonald to Huddersfield.

Wigan have negotiated the first comings and goings of the Ian Millward era with the signing of the Australian winger, Pat Richards, on a two-year contract and the departure of Wayne McDonald to Huddersfield.

Richards, a strapping 23-year-old from Wests Tigers, has been recruited for 2006 and 2007 by the club's chairman, Maurice Lindsay, in consultation with the new Wigan coach. "He's the ideal player for the modern game," Millward said. "He's over 6ft tall, fields high balls well and gives us cover for several positions."

Richards, who has an EC passport and will not count on Wigan's overseas quota, will join two international wingers, Brian Carney and Brett Dallas, in their squad for next season.

McDonald, who was on loan from Leeds, was released back to the Rhinos, who immediately allowed him to join Huddersfield on an 18-month contract. He goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's game at home to Warrington and his new coach, Jon Sharp, said: "His signing is a big boost for the club and I'm sure our fans will give him a great welcome." McDonald, at 6ft 7in, is the tallest player in Super League, and joins Eorl Crabtree and Jon Grayshon - both 6ft 6in - in the Giants pack, the biggest in the competition.

Warrington, handily placed at fifth in the table, expect to field the same side that beat Wakefield last week.

St Helens are without Paul Sculthorpe, Mickey Higham and Mike Bennett at Bradford, but have Paul Wellens returning after a one-week absence with a knee injury.

Wakefield have the New Zealand second-rower, David Solomona, back in their squad against Salford after missing him badly during the two months it has taken him to recover from a broken hand. A defeat for Trinity could send them into the bottom two relegation places, if Widnes can win at Leigh in a game that looks to have more than a hint of desperation about it.

The two leading candidates to win promotion from National League One meet at The Jungle, with Castleford and Whitehaven both unbeaten so far.

* The Wigan prop Danny Sculthorpe is to appeal against the severity of his two-match suspension for striking. Sculthorpe was banned after illegally using his forearm in a challenge involving Salford's Mark Shipway in Monday's Super League game at The Willows. The Rugby Football League has confirmed that Sculthorpe's hearing will take place next Tuesday.

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