Monaghan signing spells end for Hicks at Wolves

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The Independent Online

Warrington have signed the Australian Test winger Joel Monaghan and announced the retirement of Chris Hicks to make room for him on their overseas quota. Monaghan resigned from the Canberra Raiders in disgrace after an end-of-season drinking session resulted in a compromising photo of him with a dog.

The former Kangaroo declared his intention of salvaging his career in Super League and will now do so alongside his brother, Michael, who is already on the Wolves' books.

The casualty of the deal is the goal-kicking winger, Hicks, who has reverted to his original plan to retire at the end of last season, after three successful years with Warrington.

"We are delighted to be signing Joel, because players of his calibre do not become available very often," said the Warrington coach, Tony Smith, of the coup. "The timing of this opportunity, coming as Chris Hicks reconsidered his retirement, meant that it has fallen into place for the best interests of all." Monaghan has only signed on for a single season, which suggests he might try to revive his Australian career sooner rather than later.

Chris Tuson, the young forward who forced his way into Wigan's first-team squad after spending part of last season on loan to Castleford, has agreed a two-year contract extension at the Super League champions.

Three Championship sides have submitted their applications for Super League membership from 2112. Widnes, Halifax and Barrow handed in their bids to the League's headquarters in Leeds on deadline day yesterday.

Featherstone and Batley, who also qualified to apply for membership, chose not to do so. The Rugby League has already promised that at least one Championship side will be promoted when it makes its decision in March. Widnes, who delivered their bid by Eddie Stobart lorry, are regarded as strong favourites to make the step up to the elite division.