Tigers claw back McGoldrick

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The Independent Online

Castleford face a battle for the services of Ryan McGoldrick, the player they unveiled last week as their final overseas import for the coming Super League season.

Castleford announced the signing of the goal-kicking Cronulla centre on a one-year deal, but now the Australian champions, Wests-Tigers, claim that he had already agreed terms with them. "He has definitely got a contract that is registered with the NRL and he is part of Wests-Tigers," said the club's chief executive, Steve Noyce.

Wests-Tigers have arranged a meeting with the player on 9 January when they hope to resolve the situation. McGoldrick's version of events is that he has been training with the club but that they will not stand in his way. "Our understanding is that he could get released," said the Castleford chief executive, Richard Wright. "I'm sure we will work it out, but, if not, we will look elsewhere."

Castleford are also showing interest in the French Test scrum-half, Maxime Greseque.

One Australian player who will not be taking up his British contract is the former Newcastle winger Craig Hall. He has injured his knee in pre-season training and will require surgery that will rule him out for most of the year, so Wakefield have cancelled their offer. The club are looking for a replacement, but say that they are in no hurry.

Leeds have admitted that their new signing from Wests-Tigers, Mark O'Neill, will miss the start of the season after injuring his shoulder in the friendly against Wakefield, but the Rhinos' chief executive, Gary Hetherington, denies that the damage is bad enough to force him to go home.

The former Warrington, Salford and London hooker David Highton, has been forced to retire by a chronic shoulder injury after signing to play for Halifax this year.

Doncaster, still reeling from the sudden death of their coach, St John Ellis, are likely to leave his assistant, Tony Miller, in charge for the coming season.