Murdoch snub hits trade ban : rugby league

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Australian clubs yesterday voted unanimously against the Rupert Murdoch-led proposal for a 12-team super league. That unexpected decision to stick with the new 20-team competition that comes into effect this season means British players will still be in great demand.

It is by no means certain that Australian clubs will agree to a two-year ban on full-time transfers under those circumstances. British clubs are due to vote on the ban and consider proposals for a salary cap next Wednesday.

Murdoch was trumped by Kerry Packer, Australia's richest man and owner of Channel Nine, the television network that holds the Australian rights to broadcast rugby league to the year 2000.

Warrington are negotiating a swap deal that would bring the former Great Britain centre, Andy Currier, to Wilderspool, with Phil Sumner and Chris Rudd moving to Featherstone.

Bradford Northern's opinion of the value of the World Sevens will not have improved with the news that Neil Summers and David Fraisse have both been injured in the event, playing for Great Britain and France respectively. Northern, who play Leeds in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup on Sunday, already have Paul Newlove out with a groin injury.

An eye injury suffered by the Oldham prop, Ian Sherratt, will keep him out of the Challenge Cup tie against Bramley. "A blood vessel in my left eye has burst," Sherratt said. "I have to have tests on my retina, but not until the injury has settled down."

The United States, Russia, Moldova and the Cook Islands will play in a supplementary competition at the same time as the Centenary World Cup in Britain in October.