Rugby League: Dewsbury's import sent home

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The Independent Online
A PROMISING Australian centre is back home in New South Wales after being refused permission to stay in Britain - a decision which could have lasting repercussions for clubs here.

Corey Stewart, from the New South Wales country club, Eden, was sent home after arriving to play in trials for Dewsbury. He came without a work permit or sufficient money to satisfy the immigration authorities, and although the Dewsbury MP Ann Taylor, took up the case, Stewart was obliged to leave last week.

'It's a blow for us, because he would have done us the world of good,' said Neil Kelly, the Dewsbury captain, who played with Stewart for Eden this summer.

There have been various warnings that the dozens of Australians who arrive to play in Britain every year will face more stringent scrutiny. Gene Miles, the Australian Test centre who played for Wigan last season, was only able to do so after a dispute in which he won the right to stay.

'We have been warning clubs that this was going to start happening,' David Howes, the Rugby League's spokesman, said. 'Players from Australia and New Zealand must have work permits.'

Dewsbury have also put their prolific try-scoring winger, Dennis Bailey, on their transfer list. He wants to move out of the Third Division, and is on offer at pounds 50,000. His current club has been given final permission for the building of a new ground. They will move there next season after two years as the paying guests of Batley.

Oldham's centre Iva Ropati, sent off for an alleged high tackle at Huddersfield on Sunday, will be free to play in the second round of the Lancashire Cup at Leigh tomorrow. His case will not be heard by the League's disciplinary committee until Thursday night.

Two international forwards are doubtful starters for Friday's Championship game between Wigan and Widnes. The Wigan prop, Ian Lucas, seems a certain absentee with a twisted knee. The in-form Widnes second-row forward, Richie Eyres, has a better chance of starting, despite a troublesome hamstring.

Castleford's Great Britain Under-21 hooker, Graham Southernwood, has been listed at pounds 50,000. Leigh have rejected an offer of two Castleford players in exchange for their full-back, Paul Topping, who is available at pounds 90,000.