Wigan deny Bird transfer rumours

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The Independent Online

Wigan have denied planning to trade in Cameron Phelps for the controversial Greg Bird as they finalise their overseas quota for next season.

The club’s chairman, Ian Lenagan, has admitted an interest in Bird, who has been suspended by Cronulla since allegedly assaulting his girl-friend.

“We are always interested in international class players and he falls into that category, but he does come with baggage,” Lenagan said.

“But Phelps arrived back at Wigan three days ago, which would be surprising if he was going to Cronulla.”

The future of Tim Smith looks uncertain as reports filter back about him being touted around Australian clubs, but George Carmont, the most successful recruit of last season, has been promised a Samoan passport within days.

That will exempt him from the quota, allowing Wigan to use that vacancy to sign Amos Roberts from the Sydney Roosters. “But we are looking at a number of possibilities,” insisted Lenagan.

He also denied any problem surrounding the England forward, Gareth Hock, who was due to return to training last week.

Sheffield Eagles have continued their overseas recruitment by signing the Samoan utility back, Tangi Ropati.

Ropati, who played in the recent World Cup, joins the Papua New Guineans, Trevor Exton and Menzie Yere, in their squad for next season.

Leeds will wear last season’s achievements on their sleeves during the 2009 season. The Super League Champions are to become the first to carry a special badge on their shirts to mark their status.

France expect to have a new coach in place by the end of January. The Australian, John Monie, lost his job after France’s disappointing performances in the World Cup and it is likely that he will be replaced by a Frenchman.