Promoted Leigh start to build team for top flight

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The Independent Online

Leigh Have begun their team strengthening for Super League by signing three new players for next season.

The Widnes forward, Steve McCurrie, the London Broncos' centre, Rob Jackson, and James King, the Australian second-rower from Barrow, have all agreed 12-month contracts.

"We have signed two highly experienced Super League players in Steve and Rob, and James is a very promising player who I feel will flourish in Super League," said the Leigh coach, Darren Abram.

McCurrie, who has also played for Warrington, was released by Widnes at the end of the season, while Jackson came through the junior ranks at Wigan before spending three seasons with the Broncos.

Leigh have also re-signed two of this year's promotion-winning side, Paul Rowley and Danny Halliwell, and Abram has promised further recruitment in the near future.

The drain on relegated Castleford's playing resources goes on, with Tom Saxton joining Hull. Saxton has been lined up to play in the centres by the new Hull coach, John Kear, who has already signed the York half-back, Danny Brough, this week.

"Once Hull came in for me, it was no contest," Saxton said. "They are a much bigger club and a more ambitious club."

Two other players, Ryan Hudson and Andy Lynch, are expected to follow him out of The Jungle today with Bradford due to announce that they have signed them.

Cas, who have been delaying a final decision on a new coach, hope there will no further major departures, though Nathan Sykes and Darren Rogers have both been linked with Leigh.

Great Britain will not have to face Super League's leading try-scorer, Lesley Vainikolo, in the Tri-Nations. The Kiwi winger, who scored 39 tries for Bradford this season, is to play against Australia at Loftus Road on Saturday, but will then have surgery on a knee.

Bradford have been advised by a specialist that Vainikolo needs the operation as soon as possible.

The Newcastle forward, Ben Kennedy, is the man to drop out of the Australian team, their coach, Wayne Bennett, has decided. Craig Fitzgibbon comes into the starting line-up, with Willie Mason dropping to the bench. Bennett may yet make a further change, with Shaun Timmins bracketed with Andrew Ryan for another of the substitute places.