Rugby League: Farrell may need operation for troublesome ankle

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The Independent Online
The Great Britain captain, Andy Farrell, could need an ankle operation before the start of the season.

Farrell is to see a specialist tomorrow. "It has been bothering me for about three months," said the Wigan loose forward. "It has been really sore after training and if I'm going to need an operation this is the best time to have it done."

Farrell is confident that he will not only be fit for the start of the Super League season in April, but also for his club's entry into the Silk Cut Challenge Cup next month.

The former Widnes player John Myler is in line to be- come Wigan's Academy coach, replacing Nigel Ashley-Jones, who has joined St Helens' staff.

There are to be no rule changes for the 1998 season, even though that could mean differences in the way the game is played in the northern and southern hemispheres. Australia is set to adopt a number of the changes introduced by Super League, including the use of the video referee and a ban on striking for the ball in the rucks. But compromise talks between Super League and the Australian Rugby League are unlikely to adopt the rule under which the scoring side then kicks off.

In Britain, however, that controversial rule will remain in place. "It's important for coaches, players and supporters that we maintain stability on the field," said the League's technical director, Joe Lydon.

"There has been a need for change in Australia because of the coming together of the two leagues, but here in the UK we don't want to confuse people with more rule changes."

Featherstone have given their former Great Britain scrum-half Deryck Fox, who is in his second spell with the club, a free transfer.

Oldham last night signed Graham Shaw, a second row released by Bradford. Shaw, son of the former Oldham Athletic footballer, David Shaw, has turned down a full-time contract with Huddersfield in order to join the newly formed club.