Smith rings changes at Leeds after Cup defeat

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Tony Smith, the Leeds coach, has swung the axe vigorously for tonight's match against Wigan, following the disappointment of the Powergen Challenge Cup defeat at St Helens.

The Test prop, Barrie McDermott, and the prolific winger Mark Calderwood have been left out of the 17. Wayne McDonald and Rob Burrow are relegated to the bench, while Garry Connolly and Matt Adamson are out injured.

Ryan Bailey and Danny Ward start in the front row. Richard Mathers, Francis Cummins, Andrew Dunemann and Jamie Jones-Buchanan also start.

"One of the benefits of having a big, talented squad is that you have people ready to step in if you don't get the job done, which we didn't on Saturday," Smith said. "The players know that if they don't perform well enough, there are other people waiting to come in."

Keith Senior will tonight become the first player to appear in 200 rounds of Super League. The Great Britain centre has been almost an ever-present since the inception of the competition in 1996, playing in 199 of a possible 211 matches for the Sheffield Eagles and the Rhinos.

"It's a tremendous achievement," said Gary Hetherington, who signed him for both clubs. "He's durable and consistent and rarely has a bad game."

In tonight's other match, Widnes' fans will brace themselves for a potentially grim 80 minutes at St Helens. Saints are unbeaten in all competitions, while Widnes have not won a game and were booed off against Huddersfield last time out.

The former Wigan forward Ricky Bibey will make his competitive debut for Saints after recovering from an ankle injury, while Widnes welcome back Adam Hughes and Steven Rowlands.

Batley's Sean Richardson has been called before the League's disciplinary hearing next week on a charge involving the alleged use of his knees in the Challenge Cup defeat by Whitehaven last Sunday.

Doncaster's former Welsh international winger Jason Lee has retired because of work commitments.

The Melbourne and former New South Wales full-back Robbie Ross has become the third Australian representative player this week to announce his retirement.

Garry Hughes has been sacked as the football manager of the Canterbury Bulldogs after being held responsible by the club for players arriving in casual clothes to be interviewed by the police over the alleged rape of a woman.