Penny drops for Warrington

Rugby League
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In what looks less like clearing the decks than throwing the crew overboard, Warrington have transfer-listed 19 players.

The former Great Britain Under-21 full-back, Lee Penny, heads the list of those invited to walk the plank at pounds 120,000, with four others who have appeared in the first team this season - Mark Jones, Salesi Finau, Paul Barrow and John Hough - all available at pounds 35,000 apiece.

Barrow cost pounds 60,000 from Swinton last year, while Jones and Jason Lee, listed at pounds 20,000, are both current Welsh internationals. A former Great Britain player, Andy Currier, who has been on loan to South Wales for most of the season, is also available for a permanent transfer at pounds 20,000. The club is also releasing the Australian hooker, Kris Watson. "It costs a lot of money to finance a first team player these days," said the Warrington chairman, Peter Higham. "If they aren't doing the business, they have to go."

Higham said that the club had incoming players lined up, including some from overseas, which explains the need to unload Watson and Finau, who hails from Tonga, from their import quota. Warrington are already estranged from their most valuable player, Iestyn Harris, who is on the list at a world record pounds 1.4m. The club has complained to the Rugby League over a statement that he will not be allowed to sign for a rugby union club, several of which have made substantial offers to him.

"We had the deal of the century lined up and we don't believe that the League has any right to interfere in clubs' contractual business," said Higham.

Robbie Paul, who is to guest with Harlequins during the winter, has signed a new four-year contract with the Bradford Bulls. Paul, the 20-year-old club captain who was voted Stones Super League Player of the Year this week, will be at Odsal until 2000.

The St Helens forward, Chris Joynt, is to have a knee operation next week, after the Premiership final against Wigan, and could miss the early stages of Great Britain's southern hemisphere tour.

The Great Britain coach, Phil Larder, whose contract at Keighley ends after Sunday's Divisional Premiership final against Salford, has denied reports that he is to join Wigan as director of coaching.

Tony Chambers, a director of a Manchester property company, is the new chairman at Widnes, succeeding Jim Mills, who resigned last week.