Round-up: Bradford may face bankruptcy over Harris

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The Independent Online

Bradford have admitted that the Iestyn Harris tug-of-war with Leeds could cost them over £3m if they lose a court case next year.

A judge has already ruled that the Bulls induced Harris to breach a clause in his previous contract with the Rhinos by joining them when he returned to rugby league from Cardiff two years ago.

Now the Bradford chairman, Peter Hood, has told a fans’ forum that the next stage of litigation and Leeds’ bill for damages could drive the club into bankruptcy.

“If we had to find £3.2 million in 14 days, we couldn’t do it,” he said. “The only thing that could stop this is if the claimant – Leeds – chose to stop it.”

Given the bad blood between the two clubs, Bradford cannot count on that. Leeds’ chief executive, Gary Hetherington, said that his club could not comment.

“But we are expecting some developments in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

The Great Britain captain, Jamie Peacock, has agreed a contract extension at Leeds. Peacock, previously with Bradford, had two years to run on his existing contract, but will now be at Headingley until the end of the 2010 season.

Two other men who played for both clubs embark on a very different adventure tonight. The Australian Test centre, Chris McKenna, is in line to make his debut for the National League 2 side, Doncaster, in their Northern Rail Cup tie against the London Skolars.

Since his signing, Doncaster have taken on Ellery Hanley as coach and McKenna says that he will be an inspiration.

“He’s one of the modern day greats and it’s great just to be playing under a guy like him,” he said. “It will be very different for him, working with part-time players, but we’ve already seen that he has very good people management skills.”

Wakefield have been rocked by the news that they will be without their former Castleford and Widnes winger, Damien Blanch, for the first three months of the season.

Blanch damaged his shoulder in the friendly win over Featherstone and will have surgery later this month. Three potential replacements – Aaron Murphy, Luke George and Sean Gleeson – get a chance to stake a claim in Paul Sculthorpe’s testimonial at St Helens on Sunday.

Hull’s Great Britain centre, Kirk Yeaman, will be out for six weeks, according to a scan on his hyper-extended elbow.

The former Australian Test coach, Wayne Bennett, has had talks with the New Zealand League about taking over the Kiwi side for this year’s World Cup.

Bennett is set to leave the BrIsbane Broncos to replace Gary Kemble, who resigned last month after being criticized by his own players.

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