Northey changes codes to join St Helens

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RUGBY LEAGUE St Helens have signed Andy Northey, the Waterloo and North of England rugby union centre, on a three-and-a-half year contract worth an estimated £100,000.

The 22-year-old Northey has joined Saints in preference to a number of other leading clubs, including Wigan and Warrington. His father, Keith, played for Saints during the Sixties and Northey said: "I am proud to be following in his footsteps. I always thought I would finish up playing rugby league."

Northey is Saints' third signing from rugby union this year, following the Welsh and Lions centre, Scott Gibbs, and the Western Samoan forward, Apollo Perelini, both of whom have made an encouraging start in their new code.

The St Helens coach, Eric Hughes, predicted that Northey will also soon force his way into the first team and he is likely to make a reserve-team debut for his new club in the new year.

Jonathan Davies, whose absence for the last two months has hit Warrington so hard, could be back in action soon. Davies' shoulder, damaged in a collision with a team-mate during the first Test against Australia at Wembley, has come safely through a full training session and he is in line to play in the derby against his old club, Widnes, on Boxing Day. Warrington's ever-present captain, Greg Mackey, is doubtful for that match, however, after picking up an injury in last week's match at Salford.

Denis Betts, the Wigan and Great Britain second-row, will make a personal appearance at today's disciplinary committee meeting and argue that he was innocent of an alleged high tackle for which he was sent off for the first time in his career at Hull on Sunday.

Leigh have agreed terms with Huddersfield for their scrum-half, Neil Flanagan. If Flanagan agrees to the move, he will become the first signing by the new Leigh coach, Ian Lucas.

Doncaster have fought off a winding-up order led by their former coach, Tony Fisher, by appointing an administrator to run the club for the next three months.

Fisher, dismissed earlier this month, claims that he and a number of players are among those said to be owed money by Doncaster.

"The administrator is meeting the players to reassure them about the situation," the club's spokesman, Bryan Lamport, said. "Our cash flow has been hit by the fact that we haven't had a home match since early November, but they will get paid."

MPs from both sides of the House of Commons have tabled a motion condemning the Rugby Football Union's decision to suspend Adrian Spencer for 12 months.

Spencer played for Cambridge in the rugby union Varsity match this month, but was then suspended when it came to light that he had played league for the professional club then known as the London Crusaders, now the London Broncos.