Vowles' return a timely boost for Castleford

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The Independent Online

Adrian Vowles, who parted company with Wakefield last week as per the club's wishes, has rejoined Castleford to help their final push for a place in the play-offs.

The Australian veteran has signed on for the rest of the season and will make his debut at Hull tomorrow, in a match Cas must win if they are to sustain their hopes of a top-six finish.

"Adrian's leadership qualities will add to those we already have and will give us a big lift," the Tigers coach, Graham Steadman, said. Vowles last played for the club two years ago, before moving to Leeds and eventually becoming Wakefield's player-coach.

Bradford, who are being linked with the Australian Test back-rower Luke Ricketson, can clinch first place in the Super League table if they beat Leeds at Odsal tomorrow night. They will have Lesley Vainikolo and Leon Pryce back for the occasion.

The other games all have an effect on the top six. London Broncos, just behind Hull in sixth, are at home to Wakefield and are a little closer to finalising their squad for next season with the re-signing of their captain, Mat Toshack, on a two-year deal. Chris Thorman and Joe Mbu return after missing last weekend's defeat by Bradford.

Widnes, tucked in behind Castleford in ninth, can keep their hopes alive by winning at Huddersfield, while Warrington, whose half-back Graham Appo is being linked with St Helens, should improve their already superior points difference at home to relegated Halifax.

That fixture is topped and tailed by the two finals that conclude the Rugby League Conference season. Bridgend, including the former Warrington players Kevin Ellis and Allan Bateman, take on the Carlisle Centurions for the Harry Jepson Trophy, while Torfaen play Bolton le Moors for the Shield.

In National League One, it will be the fifth coming for Alex Murphy as he takes over as director of rugby at Leigh, a club he has previously coached four times, for their game against Rochdale Hornets.

Leigh are almost certain of second place, which will give them an away game at the leaders, Salford, in their first play-off match - the sort of game in which they hope Murphy can inspire them.

A club statement said: "Alex was the mentor behind Leigh's two greatest victories at the club - in the Challenge Cup beating Leeds as underdogs in 1971 and capturing the Championship at Whitehaven in 1981.

"Alex is considered a master motivator within the game of rugby league and has repeatedly succeeded in developing players to perform above their normal levels."

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