Widnes lead the chase for Moran's strike-power

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The Independent Online

The way is clear for Widnes to sign Dennis Moran following the recruitment of the club's previous overseas player, David Peachey, by South Sydney. Peachey was sacked by Widnes earlier this month, after a second trip home to Australia to be with his sick step-father, but remained registered with the club, thus tying up their one overseas quota spot.

That problem has been solved by Souths, bottom of Australia's NRL, signing the 32-year-old full-back for the rest of this season.

"People have said that Souths are resurrecting my career and I'm willing to repay them in any way, shape or form for that opportunity," Peachey said.

Moran was sacked by Wigan last week, with almost half a season left on his contract, to make way for his fellow Australian, Michael Dobson, who made his debut against St Helens on Saturday. The former London Broncos scrum-half wants to continue his career in Britain.

Widnes, striving to win promotion back into Super League by winning National League One, are now strong favourites to sign him.

The club confirmed yesterday that they intend to deregister Peachey when the Rugby League re-opens for business this morning after the Bank Holiday. "We will then be looking to fill that space on our import quota," a club spokesman said.

Widnes have been looking for a new half-back all season, having tried several different players in the role. Although Moran lost his job at Wigan because of his deficiencies as an organiser, his individual strike-power is seen as the missing ingredient that could steer the Vikings to promotion.

They could face a surprising rival, however, in the new Welsh club, the Celtic Crusaders, where Moran has a number of friends.

One club that will not be making a bid, though, are Castleford. They too have been scouring the world for a scrum-half, losing out on Dobson to Wigan, but they have decided that Moran is not the midfield general they need.

Wigan's big signing for next season, Trent Barrett, could be facing the next two months on the sidelines after being summoned to face the Australian judiciary on a charge of striking an opponent.

Barrett has been accused of hitting Newcastle's Great Britain winger Brian Carney whilst playing for St George-Illawarra at the weekend. The charge carries a suspension of between six and eight matches if Barrett is found guilty.