Rugby League: Atcheson steps up as Crompton goes fishing

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The Independent Online
Great Britain have dropped three players following their defeat in the first British Gas Test against Australia - and have sacked one missing squad member. Dave Hadfield reports on a day of axe-swinging.

Paul Atcheson and Adrian Morley have been promoted to the British starting line-up for the second Test at Old Trafford on Saturday, but the Test career of Martin Crompton has been ended before it has begun.

The scrum-half signed from Oldham by Salford has gone missing since being left out against Australia at Wembley and was officially turfed out of the squad yesterday.

"We are very, very disappointed with Martin's attitude," the Great Britain team manager, Phil Lowe, said. "If he doesn't want to make himself available for his country, he is better off where he is."

Crompton, bitterly hurt at being left out of the first Test after appearing to be the front-runner for the scrum-half role at one stage, is thought to be on a fishing holiday in Scotland.

He missed training sessions on Monday and yesterday and Britain have bowed to the inevitable by counting him out of the series.

Some others who were no doubt equally disappointed by their onlookers' roles in the Wembley Test have their reward in the side named yesterday.

Atcheson, Crompton's team-mate at Oldham last season who is now on St Helens' books, played just six minutes in London and starts for Great Britain for the first time. He has, however, played five times for Wales.

Morley, the strapping Leeds second-row, did enough in his substitute appearance at Wembley to persuade Goodway that he should start this match. Two other second-rowers, Simon Haughton and Mike Forshaw, are in line to make their debuts off the bench. Mick Cassidy is the forward to lose his place, although he says that he is not contemplating a fishing trip to Scotland.

The other man in the Wembley starting line-up to lose his place completely is Anthony Sullivan, the St Helens winger, who failed to display his outstanding domestic form

With Atcheson coming in as a specialist full-back, Jason Robinson returns to his original position on the right wing, Alan Hunte switching to the left in place of Sullivan.

The other changes are the disappearance of the Castleford prop, Dean Sampson, from the bench and the introduction there of Sean Long, the St Helens half-back.

Andy Farrell remains in the stand-off role that he occupied as an emergency measure at Wembley. The switch of Farrell from his normal loose-forward berth to the problem position behind the scrum was blamed by some commentators for Britain's failure to click at Wembley, but both Goodway and Farrell believe - correctly, in my view - that this is a superficial reading of the match.

GREAT BRITAIN v Australia (Old Trafford, Saturday): Atcheson; Robinson, Newlove, Radlinski, Hunte; Farrell, Goulding; Broadbent, Lowes, McDermott, Morley, Joynt, Sculthorpe. Substitutes: Long, Forshaw, Haughton, McNamara.

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