Rugby League: Goodway waits on key Test men

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The Independent Online
The Great Britain coach, Andy Goodway, has completed his squad for the series against Australia in November, but he has several key men already under a cloud.

Goodway has taken 15 players from Sunday's Premiership finalists, Wigan and St Helens, to bring his preparatory squad up to strength. But one of them, Saints' hooker Keiron Cunningham, has pulled out of the trip to Brisbane for the World Club Championship quarter-final this weekend and faces a race to be fully fit for the first Test on 1 November. Saints have taken the reserve hooker, Alan Cross, in his place.

Two Wigan players, Gary Connolly and Tony Smith, are already doubtful for their quarter-final against the Hunter Mariners this Friday with injuries picked up at Old Trafford, while Connolly and his team-mate, Jason Robinson, could this week be ruled out of the Test series by the Australian Rugby League.

Both players are under contract to the ARL, which meets tomorrow to consider a request to release them to play.

Six St Helens men have been called up, including Paul Newlove - who was cleared of a high tackle immediately after Sunday's final - and the suspended Bobbie Goulding.

There is no place, however, for Goulding's understudy, Sean Long, who has performed impressively in his scrum-half role in recent weeks, nor for Karle Hammond, who toured with Great Britain last year.

Wigan have nine players in a squad that now numbers 38, including the uncapped Simon Haughton and the injury-plagued Nigel Wright.

The former Great Britain forward, Paul Dixon, has announced his retirement after taking part in Huddersfield's Divisional Premiership final win over Hull at Old Trafford.

The chairman of Virgin, Richard Branson, will today reveal that he has taken a controlling interest in the London Broncos.