Rugby League: Freeman pays a high price

GARY FREEMAN, the scrum- half who will lead New Zealand on their British tour later this year, has been sacked by his Sydney club, Eastern Suburbs, after revealing that he has signed a two-year contract with their rivals, Penrith, writes Dave Hadfield.

'Gary can sit in the stands and cheer for Penrith for the remaining matches of the season,' Mark Murray, the Easts coach, said. Freeman captained the Kiwis in their series against Australia this year. He remains a certainty to retain the job in Britain this autumn, despite his enforced break from the game.

London Crusaders have signed the discus thrower, Abe Ekoku, and plan to convert him into one of the game's biggest wingers. Ekoku is 6ft 3in and 16st, and has played some junior rugby union and amateur rugby league.

'We are very impressed by his speed and strength, and expect him to go straight into the first team for our first match of the season against Batley on 27 August,' the Crusaders coach, Tony Gordon, said.

A League tribunal has turned down a claim from the Warrington prop, Neil Harmon, that he should be treated as a free agent, despite the club having fallen behind on staged contract payments.

Harmon has been linked with a possible move to Featherstone Rovers, who have money from the sale of Paul Newlove to Bradford Northern with which to strengthen their pack. Another Warrington prop, Phil Sumner, has now joined Harmon in seeking a move.