Noble plans to encourage banned Long and Gleeson

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The Independent Online

Sean Long and Martin Gleeson remain in the plans of the Great Britain coach, Brian Noble, for this autumn's Tri-Nations, despite suspensions which have virtually ended their seasons.

Gleeson's four-month ban for betting against his St Helens side means he will not play for his club again this year, while Long's three-month sentence leaves him with a handful of games in which to stake a claim.

Noble is urging both to maintain their fitness, but admits that Gleeson's situation is more problematic. "We need to find him some football," Noble said. "If he wants to be considered, I'm not so foolish not to want to consider him. If we can get him fit, there might be an opportunity to use him in some Home Nations games." Noble said he would also be speaking to both players to give them encouragement. "I think we need to offer them a bit of hope and direction," he said.

St George-Illawarra look resigned to losing centre Mark Gasnier. The Australian club expects him to hold talks with Wigan about joining them on an early release from his contract. Wigan are also being linked with Canberra's New Zealand Test forward Reuben Wiki.

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