RUGBY LEAGUE: Goodway presses for Newlove's thumbs up

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The Independent Online
PAUL NEWLOVE could miss Great Britain's Tri-Series against Australia and New Zealand with a thumb injury that is forcing him to play in a cast. The St Helens centre has ligament damage that could require him to have an operation at the end of the season, ruling him out of the trip to the southern hemisphere.

"It seems as though the ligament has come away from the bone and he has to see a specialist at the end of our season to find out whether he needs surgery," said Saints' football manager, Eric Hughes.

The Great Britain coach, Andy Goodway, will appeal to Newlove, who will play in the cast at Bradford in Saints' play-off on Sunday, to put off any surgery until after the Tri-Series. "I'm concerned," he said. "I need to know whether he's prepared to put up with it for a month. The decision will be his, but I'll be trying to talk him into it."

Goodway's worries are increased by the fact that his other first-choice centre, Gary Connolly, is struggling with a neck injury that forced him to miss the play-off defeat by Castleford. "It takes a lot for Gary to miss a match, because he's made of steel," said Goodway. "But it's just been getting worse and he is going to see a specialist this week."

Another member of Goodway's squad, the Sheffield Eagles prop, Dale Laughton, has joined the French club Limoux, to serve the remaining week of a suspension and to gain some match practice. That means Laughton will be available for Great Britain's warm-up game in Australia against the Burleigh Bears.

Wigan's 10 members of the Tri-Series squad have resumed training after a break following the disappointment of elimination from the play-offs. Their conquerors, Castleford, will have an unchanged starting line-up at Leeds tonight, although Gael Tallec might win a place on the bench.