Rugby League: Bradford plan way back with Howard

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The Independent Online
BRADFORD HAVE addressed their slump by signing the formidable prop forward Harvey Howard on loan from the Western Suburbs club in Sydney for the rest of the season.

The Bulls expect Howard, who would have been in the Great Britain squad against Australia last autumn but for problems with gaining clearance, to make his debut at home to Castleford on Monday.

The former Widnes and Leeds player is due to rejoin Western for next season but, if he decides to return to Britain permanently, Bradford hope that this loan period will give them first call on his services. The Bulls also expect to have Bernard Dwyer and their recent signing, Nathan McAvoy, back after injury.

It is a match in which their faltering attempt to retain their Super League crown could be under more threat than ever, because if London win at Salford tomorrow they will be level with the Bulls on points.

The Broncos will again be without Terry Matterson, who, they have revealed, is to leave the club and return to Australia at the end of this season. The former London captain is out of action with a calf injury, but the Broncos hope that he has not played his last game for them and will be back for the end of the League programme as well as for the play-offs, if they get that far.

Paul Johnson, the 19-year-old, makes his first start of the season for Wigan against Huddersfield, in place of Danny Moore, who is out for three weeks with a knee injury. Johnson has been a substitute no less than 16 times this season, and Wigan also bring in Lee Gilmour in the second row for the suspended Mick Cassidy.

John Clark will be at hooker for the Warriors in place of Robbie McCormack, who is still suffering from the concussion he suffered last week, while Andrew Isherwood gets his first taste of Super League as one of the substitutes.

It will be a tense night tomorrow at Post Office Road. Featherstone Rovers will know by kick-off time what they have to do to win a place in the First Division play-offs. If Swinton have beaten Whitehaven, Featherstone will have to beat Leigh by 32 points or more to climb above Hunslet and claim fifth spot, and take the first step towards gaining a place in the Super League.

Leigh have shown some signs of improvement under their caretaker coach, Norman Turley, however, so it will be far from a forgone conclusion.

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