St Helens' new stadium helped persuade Quins prop to move

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The Independent Online

St Helens have confirmed the signing of Harlequins' prop Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook on a four-year contract.

The 24-year-old England international was destined to join the exodus from the London club after turning down a new deal this week.

"There were a number of clubs chasing a player of Louie's calibre and we're pleased he decided on joining Saints," said the club's chief executive, Tony Colquitt.

"At the age of 24, he will continue to develop."

McCarthy-Scarsbrook said that Saints' impending move to a new stadium was a factor in him joining them, rather than Wigan or another bidder for his services.

"This is an exciting time in Saints' history and the chance to be part of that was a big pull," he said.

The Croydon-born forward joins the Castleford centre Michael Shenton and the Australian prop Josh Perry as Saints' major recruits for 2011.

They are losing one of their current front-rowers, with Bryn Hargreaves joining Bradford on a two-year contract.

The remaining issues in the Super League pecking order will be settled today, starting with Leeds' visit to Hull.

Fourth place will be at stake at the KC Stadium and with it a second chance in the play-offs, which start next weekend. For the lower, that first round will be sudden death.

With a rare sense of timing, Hull have their strongest side for month available, with both first-choice half-backs, Sean Long and Richard Horne, returning after injury.

Long's two-month absence with a dislocated elbow has been a particular blow to the club he joined this season.

"But I'm lucky to be coming back for Leeds at home, because it doesn't come much bigger than that," he said.

The former Hull captain, Lee Radford has signed on for another two years after being linked with a possible move to Hull KR. His coach, Richard Agar, welcomed his decision to stay rather than cross the city.

"Lee is a player who is loyal, consistent and plays a lot of minutes for us," Agar said.

Leeds, still inevitably smarting from their substandard performance at Wembley in the Challenge Cup final last weekend, are without Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Chris Clarkson with injuries picked up then. Two players who missed out on selection, Scott Donald and Ali Lauitiiti, are recalled.

With Warrington playing last night, St Helens will know exactly what they have to do against Castleford to secure second place in the table. It is the last regular season game at Knowsley Road, pending the move to a new stadium, but there is bound to be a play-off game there.

Castleford will make the play-offs for the second year running if they win. If they slip up, they could be pipped on the post by Crusaders, provided they beat Hull KR.

That would be a remarkable achievement for the Wrexham-based side at the end of a difficult first season and Brian Noble will be glad to have Jarrod Sammut and Adam Peek available for the last big effort.

The Catalan Dragons, the surprise packet in last year's play-offs, will be condemned to the wooden spoon if they cannot beat Huddersfield.

If they do, that could doom Salford to the ignominy of last place, if they lose at home to Wakefield tomorrow.

In the Championship, one of last season's Grand Finalists will go out when Barrow play Widnes tomorrow.

In Championship One, Workington go to Blackpool, while Rochdale host the South Wales Scorpions, who, like their North Wales counterparts, have reached the play-offs at the first attempt.

Stanley Gene has won his case against Halifax, with an RFL tribunal ruling that the club was wrong to cancel his contract in mid-season and must pay him for its remaining five months.