Rugby League: Hanley tackles `rude' bosses

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The Independent Online
ELLERY HANLEY is on a collision course with his directors at St Helens, following a scathing attack labelling them disgraceful, ignorant and rude.

Hanley's criticism stems from Saints' failure to strengthen their squad and, in particular, to pursue Martin Moana, who is likely to leave Halifax.

"I spoke to the directors and they were supposedly going to have a word with him," said Hanley. "Let me tell you how ignorant and rude the directors were. They never even spoke to him."

In the article in Total Rugby League magazine, the Saints' coach also complains that spurning the chance to sign other experienced players, like the Kiwi Jarrod McCracken, had put pressure on the young players in a squad that has lost four of its last five matches.

"If the directors were genuinely concerned with the club, and not just wearing the badge and saying `I'm a director of St Helens', they would do something about this and make the money available," said Hanley.

The chairman, Howard Morris, called Hanley's comments "disappointing" and said the club was restricted by its salary cap. They will be discussed at a board meeting next week.

Saints' football executive, Eric Hughes, said: "We don't want to rock the boat before a game. We should all be pulling together."

For that game, at Sheffield today, Tommy Martyn and Fereti Tuilagi are expected to be back. Not for the first time, however, events off the field at Saints are likely to attract as much attention as on it.

There will also be tension in the air at Wigan tomorrow, with the visitors Halifax still bitter about the departure of David Hodgson to Central Park.

The Halifax directors will boycott the usual boardroom hospitality in protest. "They should grow up," said the Wigan chairman, Peter Norbury, who is still waiting for an answer from the Brisbane centre, Steve Renouf, to the club's contract offer.

Wigan had been promised a decision this week, but Norbury said: "If we don't get Renouf, I will be working very hard to bring in someone else who will get the fans on the edge of their seats."

To add further spice to the occasion, Wigan include another capture from Halifax, Gavin Clinch, in their squad. He is in line for his debut after receiving a new work permit.

Castleford have Danny Orr back for their pivotal match at Gateshead, their likeliest rivals for a top five place. The Thunder could give a debut to Steve O'Neill, the forward on loan from Newcastle.

Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the Rugby League and deputy chairman of the International Federation, has played down reports of plans for a World League in 2001.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that disaffected elements in Australia want to set up a global competition for surplus players, financed by television rights.

"I was approached by people in Australia about this concept years ago," he said. "This sounds like old news which has just leaked out. Someone got as far as drawing up a fixture list, but I never took it seriously because I could never see how it could be viable."

Walker added that the scheme had never been discussed by the International Federation.

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