Rugby League: Florimo arrives to boost Wigan

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GREG FLORIMO has arrived in Britain to add his vast experience to Wigan's cause, but he may not be the final piece in John Monie's jigsaw for the 1999 season.

Florimo, the 31-year-old North Sydney stand-off or back-row forward, is the replacement for Henry Paul, who has joined Bradford - a move that has not been welcomed by all Wigan fans.

"He's a good player and a hard act to follow," Florimo said. "All I can promise the fans is that I'm not here for a holiday and I'll be giving 110 per cent to try to make Wigan as successful, if not more so."

Florimo, regarded as a model professional in Australia, will start pre- season training with his new team-mates next week. "I can't wait to get started," he said. "It will seem strange at first after 13 years at Norths. I couldn't have played for another team in Australia and I enjoyed it in England when I was here with Australia in 1994."

Florimo has signed a two-year contract with Wigan and could soon be joined by another Australian, as Monie is widely expected to return to Britain this weekend with the signature of Brett Kimmorley.

The Melbourne Storm scrum-half, who played for the Hunter Mariners in the World Club Championship against Wigan in 1997, can also play hooker and is seen as a player who can cover two departments in which the Wigan squad could be over-stretched.

Tony Smith is the only experienced scrum-half on the books, while Jon Clarke, the first-choice hooker following the departure or Robbie McCormack, faces a court appearance in the New Year.

The Halifax prop-forward, Richard Marshall, has agreed a new, two-year contract with the club. Marshall was wanted by the Super League newcomers, Wakefield Trinity, but the Halifax manager, David Hobbs, said he had always been confident that he would stay at The Shay.

Marshall is now in line to play in today's match at Huddersfield, who are expected to give first outings to their own new signings - Jim Lenihan, Andrew Tangata-Toa, Ian Pickavance and John Bentley.

Salford have signed the South African winger Mark Johnson from Hull after losing Darren Rogers to Castleford and Phil Coussons to Rochdale.