Hulme the elder eyes equality

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The Independent Online
The Hulme brothers play against each other for only the second time in their careers today, with elder brother David hoping to level the scores.

After years of marauding in harness for Widnes, the pair first collided last season when Paul's Warrington beat Leeds, then home to David. The senior Hulme will quietly fancy his chances of an equaliser today, when his new club, Salford, go to Wilderspool in their Silk Cut Challenge Cup quarter-final.

"It's just like another game for both of us," he said. "It's more of a problem for our mum and dad, because they know that one of us is going to be unhappy on Saturday evening. I just hope it's Paul."

If Salford's victory in a pre-season friendly between the two clubs is any guide, it could well be the younger Hulme counting the cost. More relevant is that the two Warrington props injured that day, Mark Hilton and Dallas Mead, are both still out. Along with the return of Steve Blakeley at stand-off, that could just give promoted Salford the edge.

Oldham have a difficult assignment tomorrow, at home to last year's beaten finalists, the Bradford Bulls. Bradford have a close to full-strength squad, with Bernard Dwyer and the Oldham-based Matt Calland added to the side who beat London two weeks ago. Oldham have one Australian - Brett Goldspink - fit after a hand injury, but another, Matt Munro, will be out for several weeks with a broken bone in his hand.

The Cup holders, St Helens, away to Keighley, still hope Derek McVey will be fit after a similar injury and Steve Prescott is back after food poisoning.

Leeds will give a debut to their New Zealand Test centre, Richie Blackmore, at Featherstone, although their hooker, Wayne Collins, is ruled out with a groin strain. Featherstone will be without Steve Molloy, but there will still be a strong Leeds flavour through their coach, David Ward, and a number of players who have passed through the revolving doors at Headingley.

Sheffield Eagles have agreed terms to sign Steve McCurrie, Widnes' former Great Britain hooker who has been playing rugby union for Bedford.

Halifax have denied that they are about to release six players following the resignation of their coach, Steve Simms, last week. A spokesman said the club would never contemplate sacking players while they are waiting to appoint a successor. The deadline for applications has been extended to Monday.

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