Saints likely to face censure over salaries

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The Independent Online

St Helens, the reigning Super League champions, are in danger of having points deducted in this year's competition for breaching last season's salary cap.

The Rugby League plans an announcement this morning of clubs that have spent more than permitted on players' wages in 2002. Clubs are allowed a budget of £1.8m or 50 per cent of their income - whichever is the lower figure.

Saints, who top the list of suspects, have cancelled their scheduled press conference today to preview this weekend's game against Warrington. The club are thought to have had notification from the League that they are one of the offenders, but a Saints spokesman said that they would defer any comment on the salary cap affair until after today's announcement.

Any points deduction would put Saints at risk of missing this season's play-offs. Their inconsistent form so far this year has seen them lose five of their 11 Super League games, leaving them precariously placed at sixth.

Wigan have rewarded their 18-year-old utility back, Kevin Brown, for his rapid progress by giving him a contract extension through to 2005. Brown made his debut during the club's injury crisis and scored a hat-trick against Halifax earlier this month.

"He's a big part of my future plans," the Wigan coach, Stuart Raper, said. "He can play stand-off or any position in the three-quarter line and could well figure prominently this season."

Huddersfield have signed the Australian forward, Ben Roarty, from Penrith and he will be in the country next week. The former Warrington, Leeds and Bradford prop, Neil Harmon, has joined Halifax, to the disappointment of Chorley, for whom he had agreed to play.

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