Timmins rejects Hull but promises Kear first refusal next year

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The Independent Online

"It was very close to happening, but he has taken up the option of an extra year at St George," the Hull coach, John Kear, said. "It wasn't about the money. He just thinks St George will win something and he want to be there, but he has given us first refusal for the following year."

More immediately, Hull will be without Richie Barnett with an injured foot against London on Sunday and still do not have Nathan Blacklock fit to return.

Alex Murphy, a legendary figure in the game for almost half a century, is in hospital recovering from a mild heart attack. He was admitted to Whiston Hospital near his St Helens home after complaining of feeling unwell. Murphy is now director of rugby at Leigh, who said yesterday that he was comfortable.

Leigh, who will be relegated if Salford beat Wigan tonight, have promoted two teenagers, Liam Coleman and Keiron Maddocks, to their squad for their game at Leeds on Sunday, but have suspended Paul Rowley over a row with their former coach Darren Abram.

St Helens, who are at Warrington tonight, are being asked by South Sydney to release Sean Long so he can fulfil his ambition to play in Australia. Lee Briers is missing for Warrington.

Castleford's coach, Dave Woods, has been cleared of making remarks to the referee, Ben Thaler, after their defeat by Hull KR in the Northern Rail Cup final.