Morley kept waiting on state of injury

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Adrian Morley has flown out with the rest of Great Britain's squad to their training camp in Spain, still not knowing whether his Australian club will let him play in the Test series against the Kangaroos.

Morley was hoping for an answer from Sydney City yesterday, after the latest X-ray on the arm he broke last season was sent to Australia.

"I was hoping to know by now, but I'm just keeping my fingers crossed," said the former Leeds second-rower.

The British team doctor, Professor Chris Brookes, was non-committal over the likely outcome, but stressed that the two medical teams were working closely together.

"They want him to play in the Test series, as we all do, but it must be safe medically for Adrian," he said. "There is some concern about the state of healing of the bone. As soon as we know what they say, we will be speaking to Adrian about it."

The Great Britain coach, David Waite, has defended the selection of the Australian-born Michael Withers against criticism from former Lions heroes like Alex Murphy and Malcolm Reilly.

"Ask them whether, when they coached club sides, they filled up their Australian quota," Waite said. "I believe he has developed his skills in his three years in this country. He was a player of potential, but he has developed under this system."

The Australian captain, Brad Fittler, has admitted that he expects a hostile reception in Britain after his role in the original decision to pull out of the tour.

"We copped a lot of criticism in their papers over there, so I'm not expecting much will change," he said.

A sponsor for the three-match series, which starts at Huddersfield on 11 November, has been announced and the six-figure deal with Guinness owes much to contacts with the Student Rugby League.

The company's brand manager, Mark Sandys, played rugby league for Oxford in the Varsity Matches of 1993 and 1994. "It certainly helped when we were talking to the Rugby League that I knew the game from having taken part in it," he said.

The series will be Guinness' first involvement in league, but they hope to discuss other sponsorship possibilities afterwards and are already being linked with the Challenge Cup. The nomadic future of the final over the next few years at least suggests the inviting prospect of it being played in Dublin.

Leeds have offered a new contract to one young forward, Danny Ward, but have released another, David Wrench, because of the influx of back-row talent for next season.

Hull's chief executive, Shane Richardson, says he will decide this week whether to return to Australia to take up a similar role at Penrith.