Monaghan relieves Warrington's fears over absence of injured Briers
Saturday 29 March 2008
There was a time not so long ago when the news that Lee Briers was not playing was a hammer blow to Warrington. It is a sign of the changed times that his absence against Harlequins today, although still significant, is arguably outweighed by the return of Michael Monaghan.
Briers, so often the match-winner in recent years, is ruled out by a calf strain picked up in the win over Castleford on Easter Monday. The Wolves' full-back, Stuart Reardon, is also missing, with a knee injury, while the versatile Kiwi forward Louis Anderson is serving a one-match suspension.
Monaghan is fit to resume after his own calf problem – a major boost for the second-placed Wolves, given that the Australian scrum-half would be many people's choice as the player of the season so far. There will be no reunion, though, with his former Canberra team-mate Mark McLinden, who is missing from Quins' line- up thanks to a back injury. Danny Orr is available as the London side try to recover from defeats by the Catalan Dragons and Bradford over the weekend.
Adel Fellous will face his old team-mates when Hull go to Perpignan. The robust French international prop, released by the Catalans at the end of last season, joined Toulouse before going on loan to injury-ravaged Hull, for whom the re-signed Jamie Thackray is in line to make a second debut today. Paul King returns after suspension to further flesh out the front row.
Tomorrow, Hull KR will be without the suspended Stanley Gene against Huddersfield and Terry Newton will be missing for the same reason as Bradford host Castleford.
Scott Donald, Leeds' ultra-reliable winger, has agreed a one-year contract extension until the end of next season. The Australian has played in every game since arriving in 2006 and is second-leading try-scorer in Super League this season, with nine.
Paul Crarey has resigned as coach of Whitehaven for health reasons. He suffered an attack of angina after the home defeat by Batley on Monday.
Crarey was appointed after the departure of Dave Rotheram at the end of last season. Crarey's assistant, Peter Smith, takes over for tomorrow's game at Widnes but Ged Stokes, sacked by Workington last year, will be his long-term successor.
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