Minority call for winter rethink

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The Independent Online

The controversial vote by clubs in the Northern Ford Premiership to return to a winter season will be up for debate at today's meeting of the Rugby League Council.

The clubs voted in favour of a September start for next season, but a minority who cherish ambitions of promotion to the Super League have condemned the decision as short-sighted and have called for a rethink.

The meeting will also look at the initial proposals from the strategic panel chaired by Sir Rodney Walker, which could lay out a number of options. Those could include expanding the Super League to 14 clubs by admitting Leigh and Widnes, regardless of whether either wins this year's NFP, or the more radical idea of restructuring it as two divisions of eight.

Widnes, who travel to Batley tonight, have signed Andy Craig, the former Wigan, Swinton and Halifax centre.

Matt Adamson's selection in the New South Wales squad for the second State of Origin match in Sydney on Sunday could have cost leading British clubs their chance of signing him for next season. The Penrith second-rower had said that he would leave Australia if he continued to be left out of representative teams and claimed to have offers from four of the top five Super League clubs.

Adamson is established as one of Australia's best back-rowers and would not be short of takers in this country, but the indications now are that he will concentrate on winning a place in the Kangaroo tour squad, where Gorden Tallis' spinal injury leaves a vacancy.

St Helens have added two local businessmen to their board of directors. Jim Hartley and Eamonn McManus are both self-made millionaires.

Barrow have appointed Cameron Bell, who was in charge of the New Zealand Maoris in last year's World Cup, to succeed Paul Charlton as head coach.