Returning Ellis in race to be fit for final
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Wednesday 16 November 2011
Gareth Ellis trained fully yesterday for the first time since injuring his back 10 days ago, boosting his chances of playing against Australia in the final of the Four Nations on Saturday.
The Wests Tigers forward missed the victory over New Zealand last Saturday, but is in line to face the Kangaroos at Elland Road. He rejoined the rest of the squad at training yesterday and came through without any reaction.
His return would give the England coach, Steve McNamara, a selection dilemma because Ellis's replacement against the Kiwis, Jon Wilkin, put in an impressive 80 minutes.
Garreth Carvell, who was brought in as a substitute, is hoping that he has done enough to hold on to his place in the match-day line-up.
"I would have liked more time, but being on the pitch playing is what I wanted," he said. "I've achieved that and hopefully I'll be in again this week."
Australia's Matt Cecchin has been appointed the referee, rather than the Englishman Phil Bentham, who – from the point of view of familiarity if nothing else – England would have preferred.
The match is heading for a sell-out, limited to just over 33,000 by work on the East Stand. "Tickets have been flying out," said an RFL spokesman.
New Zealand have decided against appealing over the suspensions imposed on two of their players for incidents during their defeat by England last weekend.
Issac Luke has been banned for two matches for an illegal leg twist on Rangi Chase and Jeremy Smith for one game for use of the forearm on Sam Tomkins.
St Helens have revealed that their new stadium, which opens next season, will be known as Langtree Park, after the developers of the project.
Saints moved out of Knowsley Road, their home for over 120 years, at the end of last season and will inaugurate their new ground with the Karalius Cup match against Widnes on 20 January.
St Helens Council has put £8m into infrastructure improvements, including a footbridge linking the stadium with the town centre.
The Irish international forward Tyrone McCarthy has agreed a new two-year contract at Warrington, after spending much of last season on loan at Leigh and Wakefield.
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