Trinity await appeal verdict

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The Independent Online

By tonight, Wakefield Trinity's place in Super League could, if an appeal decision goes in their favour, be safe.

Trinity, already three points ahead of Huddersfield at the foot of the table, are appealing against their remaining two points deduction for infringing their salary cap last season. Success would put them five points clear of the Giants and, with only two rounds of matches left, clear of trouble.

Wakefield play Huddersfield on Saturday, and considered withdrawing their appeal in order to leave the rescue bid to the players, who greatly improved their chances by winning at Halifax last weekend.

"There's an element of risk in it, because the punishment could go up as well as down," said the club's chief executive, Tony Docherty. "The only reason we would have pulled out was because of the cost, but there is a principle involved.

"We have had the best legal advice and that is that we have a very strong case."

Wakefield are planning ahead for survival, with Docherty charged with assembling a new board, following the resignation of Ted Richardson as chairman. John Harbin's position as coach is safe, despite the outburst following the defeat by Hull 100 days ago that saw him disciplined by the club.

"Any employee matter is dealt with on a confidential basis," said Docherty. "We support John fully. He is very much loved at the club for the way he has held it together."

The Rugby League is to bring in a new code of conduct for coaches in after-match press conferences, after a series of controversies this season.

Sheffield Eagles, voted Club of the Year in the Northern Ford Premiership last season, are objecting to the proposals to split the competition into two tiers for 2002. The restructuring of the divisions is part of a strategic review of the game due to be unveiled today. It involves the seven clubs that finished in mid-table this year having a pre-season play-off to determine which club goes into which division.

"It's a stupid situation," said the Eagles' director, John Whaling. "We sat down this week with our coach, Mark Aston, to try to work out a budget and we just can't do it without knowing the level we will be playing at."

Sheffield are calling for a rethink, with the NFP either split based on last season's placings or kept as one division for 2002 and then divided on the basis of those placings.

Castleford have released the Featherstone scrum-half, Jamie Rooney, after a period on loan with them. Rooney was given his chance at Super League level after an impressive season in the NFP, but the Tigers have decided not to retain him.

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