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Hetherington angry at secret talks

Kath Hetherington, the Rugby League president, yesterday criticised the British Amateur Rugby League Association chief executive, Maurice Oldroyd, over secret talks he held with the Australian Rugby League.

Hetherington is annoyed that the behind-closed-doors approach took place while she was conducting unification talks with Barla on behalf of the RFL which, as a Super League organisation, is in opposition to the ARL.

"I followed Maurice Lindsay and Rodney Walker as the RFL negotiator with high expectations that I could achieve peace in our long-running dispute with Barla," said Hetherington. "I can now understand the problems and frustrations that they have experienced for most of that time.

"When we heard about the talks between Mr Oldroyd and the ARL, I faxed him, but didn't get a response. I then phoned Mr Oldroyd and he admitted that he had undertaken talks with the ARL.

"I find this extremely hard to understand when I am doing everything in my power to find a satisfactory solution to our problems."

Meanwhile, there was some consolation for England who, despite being beaten in the final, had five players selected in the Centenary World Cup tournament XIII - two more than the champions, Australia.

A panel of journalists and coaches picked the hooker, Lee Jackson, the second rower, Denis Betts, and the loose forward, Andrew Farrell, in the pack. In the backs the winger, Jason Robinson, and the Bradford centre, Paul Newlove, were selected.

The Australians chosen for the select side were Brad Fittler, as stand- off, Mark Carroll, the prop, and the second rower, Steve Menzies.

Wales's full-back Iestyn Harris was selected as the best No 1, with their top try-scorer in the tournament, Anthony Sullivan, picked on the wing.

The main surprise in the selection was the non-appearance of Australia's Andrew Johns, who was voted player of the tournament.

CENTENARY WORLD CUP TOURNAMENT XIII: Harris (Wal); Robinson (Eng), Newlove (Eng), Blackmore (NZ), Sullivan (Wal); Fittler (Aus), Lam (Papua New Guinea), Carroll (Aus), Jackson (Eng), Westley (Papua New Guinea), Betts (Eng), Menzies (Aus), Farrell (Eng).