Rugby League: Broncos to end exile of Edwards

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The Independent Online
THE DOOR is already slightly ajar for the return of Shaun Edwards to the London Broncos' fold, only days after the departure of Dan Stains. The deposed coach banned the injured Edwards from training last month, but the Broncos' chief executive, Tony Rea, who has taken over coaching duties alongside Stains' assistant, Les Kiss, has re-opened communications with him.

"I spoke to Shaun on Thursday night and I'll be meeting him over the weekend," Rea said. "It could be that he will be back when he is fit."

Although Rea was squarely behind Stains' decision to exclude Edwards because of his "negative attitude", his return could help a side that has won just once since Wembley.

Edwards is out anyway for another two weeks with a broken thumb, but Martin Offiah could be back in the side to meet Sheffield at The Stoop tomorrow after a mixture of illness and Stains' selection that has excluded him recently.

Stains, free of bitterness despite being told by Rea that the coaching and playing staff had lost confidence in him, plans to be there to cheer on his former team. "I'm dealing with rejection now, but I know it must be for the best," he said. "I'm just so thankful for the opportunity. I've enjoyed every day of it."

The weekend's other new coach, Salford's John Harvey, has made his first tactical decision by moving the experienced Australian forward, Darren Brown, to stand-off for the visit of in-form Wakefield Trinity tomorrow. Brown began his career in the role and Harvey said: "He's got great ball skills and will also add a lot to the side by keeping everyone going."

David Hulme and David Bradbury return to the Salford pack, while Harvey switches Paul Carige to the centres. Harvey got off the plane to go virtually straight to watch Wakefield at Halifax on Wednesday and has identified Willie Poching and Shane Kenward as their danger men.

Chris Chester is in Halifax's squad for their local crunch match against Huddersfield, after the breakdown of his move to Wigan. The clubs had agreed a fee of pounds 90,000 for the 20-year-old stand-off, but Chester was unimpressed by personal terms that could have left him worse off.

The match of the day should be at Castleford, where they and Warrington continue what looks destined to be a tussle for fifth place. If St Helens stumble at Gateshead, then Bradford - at home to bottom club Hull - could go top of Super League for the first time this season.

The Northern Ford Premiership leaders, Hull Kingston Rovers, in administration for the past two years, have agreed a pounds 500,000 sale of their Craven Park ground that will allow them to lease it for games.

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