Rugby League: Halifax avert strike threat

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The Independent Online
THE HALIFAX directors and players have met to clear the air after strife at the club over reduced match payments.

The players boycotted a sponsor's function after their victory over Salford at The Shay last week and there have been suggestions that they were prepared to go on strike over the cut in winning pay.

Halifax finished third last season, but have lost three of their five games so far this year - the latest defeat coming at Gateshead on Saturday, with the team spirit that sustained them in 1998 conspicuous by its absence.

"The question of winning pay has been one small factor in our poor start," said the club's chief executive, Nigel Wood. "All our players are on better contracts but, in order to stay within our pounds 1million salary cap, we have had to reduce win bonuses."

Wood said that he was confident that the players now understood the club's position. "It was probably a meeting we should have had earlier, but everyone is now clear that the board has done everything it can. There is no disharmony at the club."

Halifax hope to have Chris Chester and Kelvin Skerrett back for Friday night's game against Wigan, when they aim to have their ground capacity increased to 10,000. Wigan will be without their latest injury victims, Paul Johnson and Simon Haughton, but Greg Florimo could return.

The Leeds threequarter Marvin Golden is still hoping to play at Wembley, despite the badly-injured ankle he suffered in Sunday's defeat at Sheffield. The full extent of the damage is still not known.

Meanwhile, Leeds' Silk Cut Challenge Cup final opponents, the London Broncos, are to appeal to the Rugby League for special clearance to play the Australian prop, Anthony Seibold, at Wembley. Seibold was signed from Canberra after the Cup deadline, but the injury-hit Broncos hope that the League will make a special exception to what many believe is an outdated rule.

Doncaster have sacked their coach, Colin Maskill, after their poor start to the season. Carl Sanderson and John Hurst have taken over.

The draw for the Millennium World Cup is to be made at the Savoy Hotel in London on 25 May.

Wales, who will compete in the World Cup as a separate entity, have appointed the Leeds trainer, Edgar Curtis, and the Warrington assistant coach, Paul Cullen, to Clive Griffiiths' coaching team for their internationals at the end of this season.