Richie Myler has officially become rugby league's most expensive teenager, but insisted that the tag will not be a burden to him. The Salford and England scrum-half was finally unveiled at Warrington yesterday, after weeks of conjecture.
The fee for the 19-year-old is thought to be around £270,000, almost twice what Wigan paid Wakefield for Nigel Wright a decade and a half ago. "I'm over the moon with the accolade," Myler said. "This was the move I wanted and I can't wait to get started here."
Myler's agent, Martin Offiah, defended his role in the transfer. "At the end of the day, I've got a player the move he wanted, for more money than he was offered at Salford, so I've done my job," he said.
The Warrington and England coach, Tony Smith, predicted that Myler would be an ideal addition to his Challenge Cup-winning squad. "His support play, the way he organises the team and his kicking game will be great assets," he said.
Myler, who might have specialist kicking classes with the former Warrington player Andrew Johns over the winter, is part of a spectacular triple coup by the Wolves. They have also confirmed the signing of Ryan Atkins from Wakefield, like Myler on a four-year contract with a hefty fee involved. The third new recruit is David Solomona, the Kiwi back-rower from Bradford who has so far been limited to one start this season by a shoulder injury and has agreed a one-year deal.
Leeds could be without four players for the start of the play-offs, thanks to the fallout from their bitter battle with St Helens on Friday night. Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Keith Senior and Kylie Leuluai all face charges today which could bring them four-match bans, while Kevin Sinfield has seen a specialist about a suspected cheekbone fracture from the same game.
Hazem El Masri, the leading point-scorer in Australian rugby league history, could end his career by playing for his native Lebanon against Scotland and Italy in this autumn's European Cup. El Masri will be named in the Lebanese training squad this week and will decide at the end of the season whether to take part.