Rugby League: Captain Edwards baffled by dispute with Stains

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The Independent Online
DAN STAINS, the London Broncos coach, has defended his decision to tell his captain, Shaun Edwards, to stay away from training. Stains effectively barred the half-back from the club after he missed a session on Tuesday in order to attend the draw for the World Cup, in which he is to represent Ireland.

"It's not about one training session," Stains said. "It's about what's in a player's heart and mind. We're building a club here and no individual can be more important than that."

Edwards, who will be out for at least another month with a broken thumb, claimed to be baffled by Stains' reaction. "I took it for granted that the club knew about it," he said. "I tried to get in touch with Dan, but I couldn't. I left early and didn't even have any lunch, so I'm very surprised and disappointed.

"I've only done what I've been told to do - to go and promote the World Cup, which is the biggest thing which has ever happened in rugby league."

In turn, Stains said that he was disappointed that Edwards had gone public. "He's bitter and resentful about it, but I thought he was a bigger man than that," he said.

There is no place for Edwards' closest friend, Martin Offiah, in London's team to play Wigan tomorrow night, as Dominic Peters and Rob Smyth retain the wing positions.

The Wigan side will also have an unfamiliar look, with Andy Farrell missing his first match in three and half seasons of Super League. Farrell, like Gary Connolly, has been told to sit out the next two weeks with an ankle injury. Mick Cassidy stands in for Farrell while Jon Clarke makes his first-team return after serving time in a young offenders' institution.

Queensland beat New South Wales 9-8 in the first State of Origin game in Brisbane yesterday. Mat Rogers kicked all Queensland's points, including the decisive drop goal six minutes from time.