RUGBY LEAGUE; Golden fighting to show worth

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The Independent Online
MARVIN GOLDEN will enjoy today's Super League outing to London far more than his last rather pointless trip eight weeks ago.

That was when the Leeds threequarter was the odd man out in their Challenge Cup final squad, reduced to sitting on the sidelines in a suit as his team-mates trounced today's opponents. "It was a kick in the teeth and I thought there was no future for me with the club," he recalled.

But that was before the Leeds prop Barrie McDermott delivered the necessary pep talk. "He phoned me up and reminded me that the same had happened to him at Old Trafford in the Grand Final, and look at him now," Golden said. "I've just got to buckle down."

He has done that so effectively that, although it has been injuries that have given him his chance at centre, he could hardly be left out at the moment, even if everyone was available. His outstanding form culminated in his first senior hat-trick against Castleford on Wednesday. "I'm just trying to show that I'm worthy of a first-team place," he said. "I love this club, it's the biggest club in the country."

It is certainly the best on current form, as the demolition of Castleford underlined. "There's a real buzz about the place and when we play like that, it doesn't feel like anyone can stop us," Golden said.

London Broncos, with two morale-boosting wins under the new coaching combination of Les Kiss and Tony Rea, will at least have a stab at halting the juggernaut. They have named both Shaun Edwards and Martin Offiah among their possible substitutes, but only one of them is likely to be used.

Leeds will remain loyal to the same 17 that beat Cas, with Kevin Sinfield starting in the second row and Adrian Morley on the bench, unless Darren Fleary passes a fitness test and plays a part.

In today's other game, Sheffield now carry the unwanted badge of Super League's longest losing run, following the success of their opponents Hull, against Salford in midweek. The Eagles have Michael Jackson and Darren Turner back, but their coach John Kear says he will not make sweeping changes after their latest disappointment.

Andy Farrell is back for Wigan against Wakefield, after a five-match absence with an ankle injury. Lee Gilmour drops to the bench, Andy Johnson is out and Mark Smith replaces broken arm victim Mark Reber.

The coach, John Pendlebury, and the football manager, David Hobbs, last night resigned from Halifax Blue Sox.

The announcement came hours after the Blue Sox staved off the threat of closure, when their creditors agreed to the Super League club's proposals to enter into a company voluntary arrangement. Halifax, who owe nearly pounds 1m, have been hit by rising salaries, falling gates and a drop in television money as well as the failure to sell their old Thrum Hall ground, which has been on the market for around 18 months.