Rugby League: Goulding now made a Giant

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BOBBIE GOULDING has ended his increasingly troubled times at St Helens by joining Super League's bottom club, Huddersfield, on a free transfer.

The move enables him to make a more dignified exit from Knowsley Road than might otherwise have been the case. Goulding was suspended by Saints after allegations that he had racially abused a team-mate in Swansea last month and a decision on his future employment was expected next week.

It is not the first club Goulding has left under a cloud. The 26-year- old former Great Britain scrum-half has already tried the patience of Wigan, Leeds, Widnes and Eastern Suburbs in Sydney.

He was the key man in Saints winning the Challenge Cup and Super League title two years ago, but his behaviour has steadily eroded his value to the club.

"I love the club and its supporters," said Goulding as he embarked on his latest fresh start. "I've got a tear in my eye, but I'm a Giant now and I have to live up to that name."

Huddersfield have struggled in their first season in Super League and their caretaker-coach, Phil Veivers - a former team-mate of Goulding at Saints - has urged them to buy some quality players.

Goulding, when his mind is on it, certainly falls into that category, but the question is whether his new club will be able to live with his antics off the field.

Goulding, who had almost two years of his contract to run at Saints, has signed an 18-month deal with Huddersfield. He is likely to be on the bench for the visit of fellow-strugglers Salford on Sunday.

Although Sean Long has been in outstanding form as Goulding's replacement, Saints are now in the market for another half-back as back-up, especially as they expect Karle Hammond to join London Broncos at the end of this season.

Wigan's Great Britain forward Denis Betts will be out for a month after sustaining a knee injury at London last week. The second-rower has suffered ligament damage but hopes to return in time for the Warriors' final Super League matches as well as the Grand Final play-off series.

Martin Offiah has still not sufficiently recovered from his ankle injury to play for London at Leeds tonight and Terry Matterson is also out, but the Broncos do have Matt Toshack available. Paul Sterling returns on the wing for an otherwise unchanged Leeds.