Rugby League: Goldspink to join Halifax

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The Independent Online
THE WIGAN prop forward, Brett Goldspink, is joining Halifax for the rest of the season. Wigan have already recruited Gavin Clinch and Chris Chester in the opposite direction and Goldspink's departure creates a space on the overseas quota for Clinch, a fellow-Australian, once he receives a new work permit.

Goldspink, a former St George and Perth player, was recruited from St Helens last year. He made his debut this season, but has made only four starts, with six more appearances as a substitute, and has been out of action after knee surgery.

Like Clinch, he will be unable to play until he obtains a new permit. "But we want to get him into the side as soon as possible," said the Halifax spokesman, Chris Murgatroyd, who denied that the deal might clear the way for another prop, Richard Marshall, to join Warrington.

"They have been trying a bit of grave robbing and we are not desperate enough to let one of our best young players go for nothing," Murgatroyd said.

The pounds 140,000 Halifax will get from Wigan for Chester and Clinch will keep the wolf from the door and they still have a Clinch helping the cause.

Michael Clinch, Gavin's brother, came to the club to assist with skills coaching earlier this month. Despite his brother's departure his role has expanded since last week's resignation of the head coach, John Pendlebury. "He came on a short visit and is helping us out on a voluntary nature, out of the goodness of his heart," said Murgatroyd.

For tonight's match at St Helens, Halifax are likely to be unchanged, with their captain, Kelvin Skerrett, still waiting to return. The Saints, whose three-match losing run equals the worst in Super League, will have Paul Sculthorpe back after knee surgery, but Kevin Iro faces a fitness test. They will be without Vila Matautia, who has been signed for two matches, after he was placed on report for a high tackle against Bradford.

The Rugby League has reached a provisional agreement to play the 2001 Challenge Cup final at Twickenham. The game cannot use Wembley for three seasons because of rebuilding and is taking next year's showpiece to Murrayfield.

The new National Stadium in Cardiff is also likely to host a final before it returns to its traditional home. It will be the first time rugby league has been played at the Rugby Football Union's headquarters, although Wigan played Bath there under union rules and also won the Middlesex Sevens in 1996.